Teusaquillo is an urbanized locality with several green zones in its parks, avenues, and the campus of the National University of Colombia. It is located on the former site of an indigenous reserve known as Pueblo Viejo (Old Village), which existed until urbanization in the 20th century.
The total area of the locality is 14.19 square kilometres, making the locality at 11th of 20 in terms of size.
The locality is located in the Salitre and Fucha river basins. The Simón Bolívar park system also includes several large lakes. Teusaquillo is also crossed by various canals, which form part of the rainwater-management system of Bogotá. They are extensions of streams that start in the eastern mountains.
Salitre River system:
Canal Arzobispo: An extension of the Arzobispo River which runs through the locality until Carrera 30, at which point it continues as the El Salitre Canal.
Canal El Salitre: From Carrera 30, it runs in front of the National University campus, passing Estadio El Campín until Calle 63, where it enters the locality of Barrios Unidos.
Fucha River system:
San Francisco Canal, which is an extension of the river of the same name, crosses the locality underground until Carrera 50.
Teusaquillo is relatively flat due to its location on the Bogotá savanna. It slopes slightly to the northwest.
Pre-Columbian, colonial, and post-colonial
The name Teusaquillo, like the name of Bogotá itself, dates to pre-Columbian times. Similar to the city, the name corresponded to a different location that is located near the present-day municipality of Funza. That, in turn, was known as Bacatá and was the capital of the southern Muisca Confederation. Within the zipazgo was Teivzaquillo, Thibzaquivo, Teusacá or Tipizaquillo, the place of respitr of the zipa; the leader of the Muisca people in Bacatá. Teusacá in Chibcha means “borrowed enclosure”.
Located in the foothills of the Cordillera Oriental, it was discovered by conquistador Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada. It was conquered by the Spanish who founded the town of Nuestra Señora de la Esperanza on August 6, 1538, located in present-day La Candelaria. It was renamed Santafé in 1539 and was made the capital of Nueva Granada. At that time, the name Teivzaquillo fell out of use.
During the post-colonial period, the locality remained a rural area with a largely agrarian economy. It was known as Pueblo Viejo.
On September 7, 1902, Football Club opened the city’s first football field in the Pueblo Viejo area and named it Teusaquillo, a Spanish translation of Teivzaquillo, as an homage to the indigenous Chibcha people who had lived in the area. That field saw the first game between Colombian football teams, the Red Team and the White Team—both belonging to Football Club. The following year, another field was built and named Marly. The area quickly became the capital city’s football destination.
It was not until the 1920s that large-scale urbanization took place north of the Santa Fe neighborhood. As neighborhoods were constructed between Santa Fe and the still-small village of Chapinero, it was decided the area should be named Teusaquilo. The naming occurred in 1927 and the neighborhood quickly became one of the more modern and elegant of the era; a symbol of the city’s flourishing after its fourth century of existence.
The neighborhood saw new architectural tendencies, especially the English Victorian style. Many of these buildings exist to the present day. It was considered the most fashionable neighborhood in Bogotá, a title that was passed to the Chicó neighborhood around 1985. Many notable Colombians lived there during its prime, including Jorge Eliécer Gaitán, Enrique Santos Montejo, Laureano Gómez, Gustavo Rojas Pinilla, andMariano Ospina Pérez
Construction on the National University began in May 1937 and was completed in 1945. In 1938, construction of El Campín football stadium was begun on land donated by Luis Camacho Matiz. It was reconstructed in 1951 to hold 40,000 and is the current home of the city’s Millonarios and Independiente Santa Fe football clubs. Also in 1938, the area played host to the Bolivariano Games.
In 1961, work began on Simón Bolívar park. Included in the park land are several recreational centers, including a covered colesseum, a tennis center, and a smaller football stadium.
In 1972, the Special District of Bogotá was formed out of the Cundinamarca Department and the city was split into 16 localities. The Teusaquillo neighborhood and its surroundings were named the 13th zone of the capital city and its official borders were set.
With the visit of Pope John Paul II in 1986, a national shrine was built near the site of Pope Paul VI‘s 1968 visit to Colombia. These two visits make the locality the place most-visited by the papacy in all of Colombia.
The Special District of Bogotá became the Capital District with the ratification of the constitution of 1991. Teusaquillo was made a locality as part of this transition.
Today El Campín Stadium.
El Campín Stadium was remodeled again in 2000 for the World Cup qualifiers and the 2001 Copa América. It was expanded to hold 48,310 spectators.
Additions were also made to Simón Bolívar Park, including:
A large-events area with room for 150,000 spectators— the largest in the country.
The Virgilio Barco Mega-library, one of the largest in the city, built in 1999
The Simón Bolívar Aquatics Complex, opened in 2004 for the National Games. It has capacity for 4,000 and is one of the most modern in South America, with an Olympic-sized pool.