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7th Street or Carrera Séptima is one of Bogotá's main streets as it communicates a large part of the city and has a great historical value. Built during Colonial times based on an old indigenous route that linked salt mining towns of Nemocón and Usaquén, its first section went from Plaza de Bolivar to Parque Santander, and it joined the main squares of the city at that time. Now it is one of our capital's axes and the epicenter of a cultural activity called Septimazo.

Traditional Colombian Music at Septimazo

During the 1960s, it was common to walk and gather on the street giving it another use besides transportation. Carrera Séptima filled up with commerce and showcases, but very quickly informal commerce began to appear on the sidewalks.  Public space gave way to entertainment, performances, street food, and a wide selection of curiosities. In this way, it became a tradition to walk along Carrera Séptima as entertainment and as a place for buying handcrafts, food, art, and clothing. This activity was named Septimazo. 

Street artists on Carrera Séptima

In the late 2000s, Carrera Séptima was used only for pedestrians every Friday afternoon. And with this restriction for vehicles, street shows became more common and diverse. Live statues, jazz bands, folk bands, mimes, chalk artists, and the usual commerce transformed the city's downtown into a lively carnival-like place once a week. 

As this politic benefited many citizens, it inserted itself into Bogota's traditions, and thinking of its removal was almost impossible. In the next decade, a big decision was made by the major. In downtown, Carrera Séptima should be only for pedestrians. This decision was polemic because it was problematic to remove a big segment of a  city's main road for motorized traffic, but air quality, exercise, culture, and citizens' social activity were strong points in favor. 


A band playing at Septimazo with the San Agustin Church in the background

Finally, during 2016 the project began to take place by closing the road for vehicles during fragments of the day. Later, a permanent bikeway was opened, and in the end, a whole urbanistic project removed the street and transformed it into an enormous pedestrian path with trees and benches. Now, Septimazo is 24/7 offering locals and tourists exceptional experiences, constant cultural and commercial activity, and a calm place to walk by downtown.

References: 

Franco, David . "'El septimazo', en Bogotá, es un espacio para la diversión." El Tiempo . June 17, 2008. Accessed February 1, 2018. http://www.eltiempo.com/archivo/documento/CMS-4302105.
Jordan, Gretel. "El Septimazo: Mucho más que una tradición." Ocio Alternativo. Accessed February 1, 2018. https://labmedios2010.wordpress.com/reportajes/el-septimazo-mucho-mas-que-una-tradicion/.
Ubaté, Cristian Camilo . "“El septimazo”, mezcla de cultura y rebusque." El Libre Pensador . Accessed February 1, 2018. http://librepensador.uexternado.edu.co/el-septimazo-mezcla-de-cultura-y-rebusque/.

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