It was built on the very site of the first twelve houses built in Bogotá by the conquistadors and dedicated to the twelve apostles. In accordance with the strict architectural rules imposed by the Spanish Crown, this square, located in the heart of the capital, is dominated by the statue of Simón Bolívar, created in 1846 by the Italian sculptor Pietro Tenerani. To the south of the square stands the neoclassical monument of the Capitol Nacional, built between 1847 and 1925. This is the seat of Congress. The building facing it on the other side of the square is the Law Courts. This modern building replaced the former courthouse, destroyed by army tank attacks in 1985 following the taking of the building by an M-19 guerrilla commando, which killed 111 people. On the east side, there is also the Cathedral and the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament, as well as the Casa del Florero, and on the west side, the Palacio Liévano, which houses the Town Hall. This large square regularly hosts political or cultural events. At dawn on June 5, 2016, at 8°C, 6,132 people undressed to pose naked in front of the lens of the famous North American photographer Spencer Tunik. On YouTube, a moving video of this event that brought together Colombians, including ex-guerrillas, ex-paramilitaries and ex-militaries, entitled "Johnnie Walker & Mambo enable Spencer Tunick and a moment of Colombian unity" is available for viewing. More recently, in September 2017, it was Pope Francis, a little more dressed, who honoured this square by blessing 22,000 young Colombians who came to hear the Holy Father's message.
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