The Bolívar Square (Spanish: Plaza de Bolívar or Plaza Bolívar) is located in the heart of the historical area of Bogotá. It has a statue of Simón Bolívar sculpted in 1846 by the Italian Pietro Tenerani, which was the first ever public monument in the city. Plaza Bolívar is also the name given to the main square in every city or town of Venezuela, the native country of Simón Bolívar.
On the Northern side of the square is the Palace of Justice, a large International style building where the Supreme Court is housed. The palace's rather modern construction hides a rather turbulent history - the first building was built in 1921 but was destroyed by a fire during the Bogotazo in April 1948. A new palace was built on the north side of the Bolívar Square, but was destroyed again in November 1985 by the guerrilla movement M-19 during the "Palace of Justice Siege", while the army tried to take control of the building. The ruins of the building were kept untouched until 1989, when the government decided to construct a third (and current) building on the location.
On the southern side of the square the National Capitol is located, which is the seat of the Colombian Congress. Its construction was initiated in 1846 but due to the political instability of the country it was not finished until 1926. This building was designed by the English architect Thomas Reed. The original design included a big dome. It was decided not to build the dome to finish the construction on time and not to defy the cathedral's tower.
On the north-east corner is the Vase House, now also known as the Museum of the 20th July, in which occurred the Call for Independence on 20 July 1810, the first independence attempt from the Spanish rule in Colombia.
Finally, on the south-east corner is the Mayor School of San Bartolomé, a secondary school institution, originally a university, established by the Jesuits in 1604, were many national personalities studied. The Camilo Torres little square is the place where some revolutionaries were killed in the Spanish re-conquest of 1816.
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