Prompted by this week’s #frifotos* theme – gold – here are a few long-overdue words on the Gold Museum in Cartagena de Indias. I’ve mentioned earlier how the kids and I loved this gorgeous Colombian city, the colonial architecture, the pleasant park, the vibrant colours, the music, the people.

Now, my youngest daughter is a bit uncomfortable in the tropics. She much prefers cold temperatures, so we went inside partly to get her out of the Caribbean heat for a bit. Museo del Oro is nicely air-conditioned, (necessary to help preserve the artefacts, I’m sure). Discovering this fascinating little museum was a bonus really.

First, I must mention that Museo del Oro has much more than gold on offer. There’s ancient ceramics, bone carvings, and interesting displays on the way of life of the indigenous Zenú culture, not least their incredible feats of hydraulics engineering – 2 500-year-old hand-excavated labyrinthine canals.

Some might even find it interesting to pass through metal detectors and a heavy steel door. We’re from a country where not even the police carry weapons, so we tend to be slightly intrigued by the sight of armed guards, as well.

Nevertheless, gold plays the lead. And when you pass through that steel door, that’s what you find.

Museo del Oro is brimming with gold: complex filigree patterns, a stunning gold jaguar, and jewellery, heaps of jewellery: bracelets, anklets, penis sheaths. Seems these were all you needed in hot-weather Cartagena in pre-Colombian times. If you were a man, that is. Women wore nipple caps. Gold, of course.

The unique pieces are elaborate works of art, a testament to the imagination and skill of their creators. There’s even a large pot of gold.

Not at the end of the rainbow, but at Museo del Oro

Gold museum practicals:

Museo del Oro is well worth a stop if you’re in Cartagena.

– Museo del Oro is easy to find in the UNESCO-listed historic old city, vis-à-vis Plaza Bolivar
– Entrance is free
– Information is in Spanish, French and English
– I already mentioned a/c – a nice break from 38 °C temperatures

Have you visited a gold museum?

*#FriFotos is a weekly Twitter chat founded by @EpsteinTravels where travellers share their favourite photos. Each week has a different theme. Search #FriFotos on Twitter to see more or to join in.