Mystery City #12: Germans in South America

by Borderstan.com June 18, 2010 at 9:26 am 2,041 1 Comment

Mystery City #12 is in Venezuela and was originally settled by German immigrants. (Luis Gomez Photos)

This week’s mystery city from Luis is Colonia Tovar in the Venezuelan state of Aragua. Due to the town’s climate and its close proximity to Caracas and Valencia, it is a popular weekend getaway spot; it is about 35 miles west to Valencia and 35 miles east to Caracas

Colonia Tovar is located in a low-elevation mountain range and has a temperate, even chilly, climate.  However, the hot sunny beaches of the Caribbean are about 15 miles north over steep mountain roads.

Colonia Tovar was founded in 1843 by German immigrants and their descendents still farm the hillsides. The markets are famous for their produce, including peaches, and German-style buildings are still common. The population is around 6,000.

We made an afternoon stop in Colonia Tovar in 2007 and I remember talking to a local woman (through Luis, in Spanish) about the history of the village. She did not speak English, but did speak German (not common these days) in addition to her native Spanish. What I remember most were the mountain roads in and out of the village–especially the drive down the mountain in the evening hours. It was exciting.

The German-style architecture in Colonia Tovar did a good job of confusing readers. Only 22% correctly guessed that this week’s photo was of Colonia Tovar. The top choice was Germany’s Rhodt unter Rietburg in Rhineland-Palatinate (37%), followed by Brazil’s Santa Maria de Jetibá in Espírito Santo (30%), which is another German outpost in South America.

Previous mystery cities have been Caracas, Valaparaiso, Sydney, Bratislava, La Paz, Santiago, Long Beach, Toronto, St. Louis, Valencia (Venezuela) and Genoa.


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