Photographer's Note

La Colonia Tovar (Tovar Colony) is a city located in the Tovar Municipality of the Aragua State, Venezuela about 60 km from its nearest city, Caracas. The town was named after Martín Tovar y Ponte who donated the land over 100 years ago. The city is mainly known for its Germanic characteristics, culture, and a dessert called "golfiado", which is very similar to a cinnamon bun. Being founded in 1843 by German settlers, the city remained isolated from the rest of the country for decades, a factor that permitted the inhabitants to keep their culture and traditions. The majority of its residents are descendants of Germans and have a Northern European appearance. The Alemannic dialect of German, known as Alemán Coloniero ("colony German"), is nearly extinct. Today, 6,000 people live in the village, up from 1,300 in 1963. Colonia Tovar, at about 2000 meters above sea level, has an annual average of 16 degrees Celsius (61 degrees Fahrenheit), and at night it can drop to around 5 °C. Due to the much cooler climate, and pleasant surrounding countryside it is a popular week-end destination for many visitors from Caracas. Many houses are weekend retreats and second homes. There is a wide range of hotels, restaurants and other tourist facilities, however many are only open at the weekend. The town and surrounding mountainous countryside have a superficial resemblance to Southern Germany. The visitor will occasionally see Germanic oddities such as waitresses in traditional Bavarian dress hawking "torte selva negra" and the odd "D" plate on some cars but will be unlikely to find anyone who understands fluent German. Cost of living expenses here are higher than elsewhere in Venezuela. The town depends mostly on local tourism and peach agriculture. The surrounding cloud forests are protected by the Pico Codazzi Natural Monument, though some signs of deforestation are visible due to the high touristic demand from Caracas, and the extraction of tree fern, sold dry for growing orchids. The town is situated on a steep hillside, making the street layout difficult and poorly suited to the heavy weekend traffic.

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