In a small Colombian town 30 minutes outside of Bogotá lies a giant, full-scale replica of the Taj Mahal, finished with four towering spires and a white bulb at the top. Virtually unknown to all tourists, this replica is part of Jaime Duque Park, a locally renowned agglomeration of history and culture of epic proportions.
In 1983, chief pilot of Avianca Airlines Jaime Duque Grisales decided to dedicate his life to philanthropy by creating an atmosphere of education and family fun for the children of Colombia. To do so, Grisales constructed Jaime Duque Park, a 70-acre family-themed amusement park near the town of Briceno.
One of Grisales’ aims was to bring the entire world to Colombia, and just that he did. In addition to the Taj Mahal, Jaime Duque Park features each of the Seven Ancient Wonders of the World, including replicas of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, Moscow’s Red Square, and the Egyptian Pyramids.
Along with its extraordinary worldly sights, the park also offers concerts, a zoo, a conservation area, a palace of mirrors, a playground of climbable, multi-story dinosaurs, and a 1:25000 scale topographical map of Colombia. (Not to be confused with this other scale topographical map of Colombia.) The idea is to impart historical and geographical knowledge, with all proceeds going to charitable causes.
Grisales connected the different attractions in the park via a series of bridges, colorfully painted outdoor walkways, and monorail-mounted bikes. The park is surrounded by a wacky, multicolored castle. Another curiosity is the monument of a human hand hoisting up a sphere, dubbed “The Hand of God.”
Also found in Jaime Duque Park are battleships, stone statues, and two museums: the “Outfits of the World” fashion museum and the “Museum of Mankind in the Universe,” featuring a collection of statues explaining important moments in human evolution.