The 16th Century town of Villa de Leyva is a touristic jewel in the Boyacá Department of Colombia. Founded in 1572 and located at an altitude of over 7000 feet above mean sea level, the town was declared a National Monument by the Colombian Government in 1954 to protect its colonial architecture and heritage. In many areas of the town, it appears as if time has stood still for nearly 450 years. It is about a three and a half hours by car or bus, from the capital city of Bogotá.
The area is semi arid – a high altitude semi-desert terrain, located away from the beaten track and from the Country’s domestic trade routes. Millions of years ago, the whole region was under the sea. That has resulted in a rich treasure trove of fossils. Just outside the town is a small museum that houses what is probably the best preserved fossil of a Kronosaurus in the world.
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