jueves, 1 de octubre de 2009

The House Museum

The Dining Room: In this spot, the Gaitán family shared time together during dinner, as well as with their guests during special occasions. Visitors can still appreciate Jorge Eliécer Gaitán Ayala’s place at the head of the table, just as it was set on April 9th, 1948 when his wife and daughter awaited him for lunch.

The Living Room: This part of the house becomes very important after Jorge Eliécer Gaitán Ayala’s death. It is the place in which he was buried and remained until 1988. During this time, the room was a site of political pilgrimage due to the visit of those who found inspiration in the leader’s figure or those who wished to honor him.

The Door from the Agustín Nieto Building: This piece witnessed Jorge Eliécer Gaitán Ayala’s assassination. The leader crossed this door at lunchtime, just seconds before he was shot on April 9th. The doorframe still holds the plaque indicating his lawyer’s office on the fourth floor.

Personal Library: Since childhood, Jorge Eliécer Gaitán Ayala was a voracious reader, thanks to the legacy of his mother, a schoolteacher, and of his father, a bookseller. His personal library includes more than three thousand books in different languages and about a wide array of topics. The influence of the authors helps to understand Gaitán’s ambiguous character.

Resting Room: This small room, next to Jorge Eliécer Gaitán Ayala’s home office, tells of the long work nights during which he prepared judicial defenses, speeches, and conferences. He was known to be of tireless nature; for this reason the bed he used to sleep in for a few hours during the night had no headboard, “it was only meant for sleeping, not laying back nor lazing around”.

The Home Office: Jorge Eliécer Gaitán Ayala’s academic and political life was quite hectic. In his home office, visitors can appreciate the diplomas from the National University of Colombia, in which he received the degree of lawyer from the School of Law and Political Sciences, and from the Royal University of Rome, where he specialized in criminal science under the guidance of Enrico Ferri.

Gloria Gaitán’s Bedroom: The only daughter of the Gaitán Jaramillo Family, Gloria Gaitán, was born in 1937, the same year in which Mrs. Manuela Ayala, the leader’s mother, passed away.

The Marital Bedroom: Jorge Eliécer Gaitán Ayala marries Amparo Jaramillo in 1936. Due to his wife’s customs, it was the most carefully decorated room in the house.
The Bathroom: Doctor Gaitán always cared much for health, hygiene and personal image. He would go jogging in the National Park every morning and then use the exercise machine exhibited in this room. The neighborhood in which the house was located was one of the few which had all the utilities.

The Garden and the Tomb

The garden is one of the favorite spots of our visitors, due to the magnificent green of the trees and ivies among different kinds of flowers: Agapanthus (Agapanthus africanus), White lily (Zantedeschia aethiopica), Azalea (Rhododendron sp.), Great Bougainvillea (Bougainvillea spectabilis), Madonna lily (Lilium candidum) y various species of roses.

In the year of 1988, sponsored by president Virgilio Barco, the body of Jorge Eliécer Gaitán Ayala was moved to the garden in the Cultural Center next to the house. The buried body stands facing the San Pedro Alejandrino Estate in Santa Marta, within a round tombstone that represents a laurel wreath; it was covered with soil brought from every single Colombian town, and sprinkled with water from the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, as well as the Panama Canal and the Magdalena River. Above it is a flowering rosebush, found on the two thousand peso bill.

Around the tomb are two of his most memorable speeches: the Prayer for Peace and the Prayer for the Humble.

The Train Wagon

Trains were the main mode of transportation during the first half of the twentieth century, and began to disappear as automobiles were brought to the country. At the museum, visitors can enter the wagon which brings back memories of the long journeys during the old days, the progress that it came to symbolize, and even the trips Gaitán made around most of the country. In the museum wagon visitors can relive these moments in history while they watch the documentaries shown.

Did you know that…?

At the museum you can find the suit Jorge Eliécer Gaitán Ayala was wearing the day he was murdered.
You can see his personal agenda in which he wrote down his appointment with Fidel Castro on April 7, 1948.
Gaitán was an art lover and his house is decorated with images and works of important artists such as Rembrandt, Michael Angelo, Leonardo Da Vinci, Gustave Doré, Rómulo Rozo, and Ricardo Rendón