Gabriel Garcia Marquez House Museum, Aracataca, Colombia

Gabriel Garcia Marquez House Museum, Aracataca, Colombia
Photo credit: Tim Buendia on Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

Website: http://casamuseogabo.unimagdalena.edu.co/en/

Physical address: Cra. 5 #6-35, Aracataca, Magdalena, Colombia

Phone number: +57 5 425 6588

Business hours: Tuesday to Saturday: 8am-5pm (closed 1-2pm); Sunday 9am-2pm. Closed Mondays

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BORN IN 1927, in Aracataca, Colombia, Gabriel Garcia Marquez – affectionately known to Colombians as Gabo – immortalised his home town in the literary masterpiece, Cien Años de Soledad (100 Years of Solitude). A chronology of the Buendia family’s connection to the fictional town of Macondo (acknowledged by Marquez to be based on Aracataca), the novel blends the stories and experiences of Gabo’s childhood with a liberal dose of the paranormal. Through its meteoric international popularity, 100 Years introduced many readers to the genre of magical realism.

Central to the novel, and to Gabo’s early years, was The House; a place from whence the Buendia family experienced all of the major events of their lives. In real life Aracataca, the house belonged to Gabo’s maternal grandparents, who raised him for the first eight years of his life. His grandfather, the Colonel, told him stories of the banana massacres and his military experiences, while his grandmother littered her stories with magic, spirits and omens. Both found their way into the novel.

Although the house itself was eventually sold by Gabo’s mother, and later demolished, it was rebuilt (then destroyed in a fire and rebuilt again) and opened as a museum dedicated to the great writer. Gabo, his wife Mercedes, and other members of the family were involved in the project, attempting to recreate the house with as much historical accuracy as possible. Visitors to the museum, an 85km drive from the town of Santa Marta (accessible by bus), on the Caribbean coast, will recognise elements of the novel in the museum’s displays and beyond.

Embracing their local hero, the town beyond The House further captures the essence of the novel, with a headstone dedicated to Melquiades, the wandering bringer of new technologies, and a statue for Remedios the Beauty also on display.

Tours of the house, and of the town, are available.

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