Semana Santa in Popayán

Of all of the traditional celebrations in Colombia, Popayán’s Holy Week festivities may be the most famous. The town fills up with both national and international tourists during the event and rooms are reserved months in advance, with dramatically higher prices. The most important processions take place on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, where tens of thousands of worshipers crowd the city streets. In 1983, a violent earthquake hit Popayán just as the Maundy Thursday procession was about to begin. The roof of the Cathedral collapsed and many other historic buildings were damaged, killing hundreds. While the city has gone on to repair the damage, the tragic event has given the festivities added significance.

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