Torres del Silencio (Towers of Silence), Bogotá

Torres del Silencio, Bogota

photography by: Omri Westmark

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At an average elevation of more than 2,600 meters, Bogotá is the third highest capital in the world, flanked by a mountainous topography on all sides. Throughout its surrounding mountains one can find copious hidden gems, each of which offers its own fair share of sweeping views and chilly zephyrs. Conspicuous by their obscurity, however, are the Towers of Silence, a set of sculptural concrete columns that truly lives up to its apt name.

Tucked away in the wooded hills east of the Colombian capital is a quirky sculpture that rarely gets any visitors due to its secluded whereabouts. Perching atop a grassy knoll, Torres del Silencio (aka Towers of Silence) is a cluster of sixteen 7-meter-tall pillars, made entirely of bare concrete. Each beam features a rather bizarre shape, somewhat akin to an impossible trident.

 

This was the brainchild of Pamplona-born artist Eduardo Ramírez Villamizar, who in 1973, crafted the monument as a gift for the city of Bogota. Known for his minimalist and abstract style, Villamizar intentionally designed the sculpture as both monolithic and porous. While from afar, the concrete towers might seem like a solid, three-dimensional box, the closer one gets, the more voids come into plain sight.

 

The narrowly-spaced columns are not merely an object to gaze it as anyone can take a stroll inside the orthogonal labyrinth, with framed vistas of the verdant landscape revealed through the narrow gaps in between. Obscured by the many canopies around, Torres del Silencio is anything but easy to find. Whoever wishes to visit the place must first reach a driveway gate adjacent to Avenida Carrera 1, and then follow a footpath with roaming heifers for 5 minutes or so.