Definitions

Sincelejo

Sincelejo

[sin-suh-ley-hoh; Sp. seen-se-le-haw]

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Administrative Divisions

Sincelejo is subdivided into an urban zone and a rural zone. The urban zone is divided into 9 Comunas (Townships), while the rural has 21 divisions named Corregimientos.

Rural Division

  • Area 1 Corregimientos: Chochó; Las Palmas and Castañeda.
  • Area 2 Corregimientos: La Arena; San Rafael; La Chivera; Las Majaguas and La Peñata.
  • Area 3 Corregimientos: Laguna Flor; Cerrito de La Palma; Las Huertas; Cruz del Beque and San Antonio.
  • Area 4 Corregimientos: Buenavista; Buenavistica; San Martín; San Jacinto; Cerro del Naranjo; Babilonia; Sabanas del Potrero and La Gallera

Demographics

Sincelejo has an estimated population of 236,780 according to DANE 2005 Census. The 83.7 % of the housing are houses, while 12.1 % are apartments. The 98.1% of the housing have regular electricity; 83.7%, sewage system; 79.7%, regular water supply; 79%, natural gas and 50% telephones.

In Sincelejo, the 51.7% of the residents are women, while the 48.3% are men. The literacy rate is 87.5%. The 14.5% of the citizens of Sincelejo recognize themselves as Indigenous people; 9.4% as African-Colombians and the rest, the 76.1% recognize themselves as mestizos(mixed-race) .

Economy

Sincelejo, just like the rest of the department of sucre bases its economy in the cattle raising, and agriculture, but in Sincelejo there is a development in the trade and service lines because it is an important regional center. According to DANE Census 2005, in the urban zone, the 50.4% of the places of business belongs to the trade line, while the 35.8% belongs to the service line and the 12.7% belongs to the industrial line. The 83.1% of the rural units (farms) has some kind of rural production activity with the 99.1% having cattle raising activity, the 33.4% an agricultural activity and only 1.3% fishing activity. The 96.2% of places of businness has 10 or less workers; 3.3% ten to fifty and only 0.5% fifty-one to two hundred workers. From the cultivations, 78% are temporary cultivations (Cassava, Dioscorea (Ñame), Common Bean, Corn); 11% mixed temporary cultivatios (two or more temporary cultivations seeded together) and a 8% permanent cultivations (mostly fruits like tamarind, mango, guava, mamoncillo, orange, lemon and watermelon.

The trade line is supported by several shopping center like Almacenes Exito, SAO, Almacenes Ley and El Palacio del Remate. There are several malls being the main and biggest the San Francisco Mall (Centro Comercial San Francisco). In Sincelejo is possible to find a big variety of products of any nature, from clothes and shoes to medical stuff. The economy in Sincelejo gets dynamism by the night life, specially weekends. There are several bars and pubs in Sincelejo, most of them located near to the central zone of the town and the avenues, like Las Peñitas Avenue.

The public line of the economy in Sincelejo holds an important amount of the working people in Sincelejo, distribuited among the administrative branch, the health branch and the education branch. Some people claims this situation leads to electoral crimes, because the people working for the municipal government tends to buy votes in order to elect a candidate favorable to their interests in order to keep their jobs when the mayor finishes their period.

Culture

Traditional music of Sincelejo are porro and fandango (similar to samba to Brazilians). The typical dish of this city is mote de queso which is a soup with cheese. City is known for its 'hamacas' and sombrero vueltiao, which are both made by the native inhabitants. The sombrero vueltiao is also known as a national symbol for Colombia. The city is also the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sincelejo.

Every January Sincelejo opens the holiday for the Jesus's Sweet Name (Fiestas del dulce nombre de Jesús) which takes place on January 20, but the festival begins days early and it includes several parades, a beuaty contest and several days of bullfighting within a temporary wooden circular structure similar to a stadium named Corraleja, that is why the holiday is also called Las Fiestas de Corraleja. On January 20, 1980, a combination of overcrowding and panic caused the bullring's wooden bleachers to collapse, killing 222 persons, although some estimates place the death toll at almost 400, this tragedy put on hiatus the traditional Corraleja despite the holiday took place every year, only in 1999 the municipality authorized the construction of the wooden structure renewing the bullfighting.

In Sincelejo also takes place the National Meeting of Bands (Encuentro Nacional de Bandas) which is a musical contest where folk bands perform the traditional musical styles in the Savanna Region: Porro and Fandango. This contest started in 1984 and it takes place in the mid-year and it awards creativity and performance.

Another cultural yearly event in Sincelejo is Festival Sabanero del Acordeón (Savanna's Accordion Festival). Unlike the National Meeting of Bands, this festival is about the folk musical styles but by the accordion and it includes four styles: Paseo, Merengue, Cumbia and Porro. The first winner of this contest was Lisandro Meza in 1974. The festival was created to show the Savanna's culture to the country and to the world, that is why there are always some controversy when the styles of Valledupar, specially the paseo, get to win.

Sincelejo has got several institutions devoted to the cultural work like "La Escuela de Bellas Artes" (English: School of Fine Art), Batuta among others.

Sites of Interest

Majagual Plaza: Usually called "La Placita de Majagual" (The Little Plaza of Majagual), this place was often referred in several folk songs from artist like Joe Arroyo. This plaza was the epicenter of the January 20 Corralejas for many years before this show was moved to "La Plaza de Mochila" where it took place the disaster of 1980. Since then Majagual Plaza was only useful for activities related with sports, but in 2007 it was relaunched under a new concept and post-modern design with a arch-shaped sculpture and a wide square for cultural events

Santander Park and Saint Francis of Assis Cathedral: As old as Sincelejo, the Santander Park was opened in 1776 and it was the first place where the January 20 Corralejas took place in 1845 until 1964 where it was moved to Majagual Plaza. Just next to the park it is located the Saint Francis of Assis Cathedral (Catedral San Francisco de Asís), which was established in 1853 and it is the center of the religious parties that take place along the year in Sincelejo like Easter, Virgin Mary, Sacred Heart and the most important that takes place on January 20: The party of the sweet name of Jesus (Las Fiestas del Dulce Nombre de Jesús).

Sincelejo's Municipality Theater: It was established in 1997 and it is a beautiful facility where concerts, musicals, folk events and theater operas take place. It is the cultural facility for excellence in Sincelejo.

San Francisco Mall: The San Francisco Mall (Centro Comercial San Francisco) was opened in August 2006, and it has a pleasure ground for children, four movie theaters, and shops. It is located on Las Peñitas Avenue (Avenida Las Peñitas) and it has 61 shops where it is possible to find clothes, shoes, food and entertaiment. The mall's area is about 31000 square meters including parking space for 351 cars and 156 motorcycles. The total investment for this facility was nine billion pesos (About 5.5 Million US Dollars). This mall holds the biggest shopping center in Sincelejo: Almacenes Exito.

Media

Two local dailies circulate in Sincelejo: El Meridiano de Sucre and El Universal Sincelejo. Furthermore regional and national newspapers also circulate like El Tiempo, El Espectador and El Heraldo.

There are several radio broadcasting stations: On A.M. there are Radio Caracolí, Radio Piragüa, Radio Chacury, Radio Sabanas, Radio Sincelejo, Ecos de la Sierra Flor and local stations of RCN Radio and Caracol Radio. On F.M. there are Olimpica Stereo, Tropicana Stereo, Primavera Stereo, Bésame, 94.3 F.M., Marina Stereo and Unisucre FM Stereo.

Via radio waves, Sincelejo receives five national television channels: RCN, Caracol, Canal Uno, Señal Colombia and Señal Institucional. Moreover there are two cable tv services: Telmex and Cable Unión. Telmex holds the only local tv channel named Canal Doce (Channel 12) exclusive for its subscribers and it includes several programs like magazines and a newscast devoted to Sincelejo and its zone of influence.

Transportation

Inside the town

There are several ways to move inside Sincelejo:

1. Mini-Buses: The minibuses service in Sincelejo -often criticized because of the age of the vehicles- carries passengers from the different neighborhoods to the downtown, and then to another neighborhood or to the same. The minibuses follow a previously established route, that they have to cover in a limited time. Several companies are in charge of this service, regulated by the municipality who gives the routes in concession. The minibuses' fare is 800 Colombian pesos (0.5 US Dollars approximately). This service schedule is from 5:45 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., later it is very hard to find minibuses.

2. Taxis: This is the best urban transportation in Sincelejo, because it is available 24/7 and there are several companies in charge of this service. Taxi's standard fare is 3500 Colombian pesos (2 US Dollars approximately), and the night fare varies from 4000 to even 5000 Colombian pesos (2.3 to 3 US Dollars) according to the hour, being more expensive from 1 a.m. to 4 a.m.

3. "Mototaxis": A "Mototaxi" (Motorcycle-taxi) is a regular motorcycle used to carry a passenger from one point of the town to another (like a regular taxi) but in a lower fare than a taxi. Despite this kind of transportation is really controversial is used by the most of the population because it is the fastest way to move inside the city and its fare is reasonable: 800 Colombian pesos (0.5 US Dollars) for shorts trips, 1000 Colombian pesos (0.75 US Dollars) for middle trips and 1500 Colombian pesos (0.9 US Dollars) for long trips inside the town. At night this fare gets higher to 2000 Colombian pesos (1.25 US Dollars). Despite this service is very informal, barely legal, it is the more popular and the number of motorcycles in the town had increased too much, this led the mayor Jesús Paternina (in 2008) to create a space named Anillo Verde -Green Circle- which includes the most of the central zone, into this area motorbikes are only allowed if the driver is alone, no passengers.

Outside the town

Sincelejo is known for being an important crossroad on the Colombian Caribbean, it is placed close to several important towns on the region (Montería, Magangué, Coveñas and San Marcos) and also it is placed relatively close to important cities in Colombia like Barranquilla, Cartagena, Valledupar and Medellín. There are regular transportation from Sincelejo to these place by bus and taxi, being taxis a little more expansive.

15 kilometers away from Sincelejo is Las Brujas Airport where is possible to find daily flights to the major cities in Colombia: Bogotá and Medellín. By land transportation the fare is approximately 1 US Dollar/10 Kilometers. By air transportation the fare is about 2.5 US Dollars/Kilometer. Despite there is not an official a terminal for land transportation, the place where Ocala Avenue and Troncal del Caribe intersect, it is the most important departing and arriving place in Sincelejo

Education

As the main city in Sucre and the Savannas Región, Sincelejo holds a big number of students, with 35 public schools and several private schools. Also, there are several universities: Universidad de Sucre, which is the only official public university in Sincelejo and Sucre. There are several private universities: CECAR, CUN, Universidad San Martín, Universidad Santo Tomás and there is a local office of Universidad de Pamplona. There are several institutions offering technical and technological short careers, being the most important the local office of SENA.

External links

References

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