La Ultima Cena por Alberto Rosas Fosqui (Mosqui). Restaurante Hotel Molino la Mesopotamia
"Húesped, la morada es vuestra no sólo en la fecha, si no por los días que querais honrarla con vuestra presencia"
Cesar Augusto Landínez 1909 - 2004
Fundador Hotel Molino la Mesopotamia
In 1.954 Villa de Leyva, founded in 1.572 by Andrés Venero Diaz de Leyva, was declared national monument by the former president Gustavo Rojas Pinilla’s efforts. The house that now is Hotel Molino la Mesopotamia is a colony vestige founded in 1.568 by Pedro Gomez, four years before Villa de Leyva itself. It was a plantation, a flour mill and supposedly a leisure house for spanish viceroys. In 1.957 La Empresa Nacional de Turismo (National Tourism Company of Colombia) was created by decree. Hotel Molino la Mesopotamia, which was on conditions of abandon, was given to such company with the purposed to release a public offer of sale, under the condition that this house should be committed to tourism. The former corvette captain, entrepreneur, amateur poet and art lover Cesar Augusto Landínez won this public offer. Certainly a visionary, only him saw the historic, aesthetic and tourist outstanding value of this colonial house and its beautiful spring and vegetation. When Hotel Molino la Mesopotamia's first stage of restoration started a trip from Bogotá to Villa de Leyva could take up to eight hours thru a pavedless winding road. Some of Captain Landínez acquaintances thought he might have gone bizarre.
As the Valley where Villa de Leyva is located is quite desertic and Hotel Molino la Mesopotamia’s soil fertile, Captain Landínez decided to name it "Hotel of the Flour Mill, The Mesopotamia", as a reference to its history as a mill. It is also a metaphor to the Mesopotamian Region surrounded by the rivers Tigris and Eufrates in Asia, where the christian jewish traditions believe was the earthly paradise.
The Captain Landinez and his wife Melida de Landínez, both from Boyacá, had an exquisite
taste and a clear vision. When walking thru Hotel Molino la Mesopotamia you will find embedded in its historic one meter adobe walls artistic crafts and paintings by local artist. As an instance, the restaurant has a colourful yet minimalistic last supper mural by the Colombian artist Mosqui, painted around 1970; the antique flour mill that for centuries has been in this house and a beautiful clay last supper embedded in a small corridor that gives entrance to the internal comedor, by the nationalist craft artist Gomer Medina. This is an example of how the Captain Landinez would remarkably merge the antique with 1970’s art and traditional craft from the area.
Doña Mélida would rigorously planned the restaurant traditional meals and with love would take care of Hotel Molino la Mesopotamia’s gardens. If something we regret is have left behind some of her delicious recipes like traditional bread and guava flan. We honestly hope to rescue her kitchen and make of the restaurant a tribute to her work in the near future.
Cesar Augusto Landínez’s vision of Boyacá tourism was and is revolutionary. Its flags were to enjoy Colombian countryside, its traditions and unique cultural legacy. Beare in mind that just till know we are starting to hear about sonteinable tourism in Colombia. He was indeed ahead of his time. Around the nineties, when a diaspora of B&B and luxury hotels started to spread around Villa de Leyva, Captain’s grand children proposed him to build a tennis court to catch up with competitors. He proudly and confidently answered with his' former corvette captain manners: “To this hotel in Villa de Leyva you come to rest, go to the local market, enjoy silence, nature, tranquility and enjoy water ”. What a legend. Could you imagine we would have ruined our green areas with concrete platforms?.
It is with great love, admiration and respect that I write this lines about my grandparents’ work. I am sure they aren’t fair to the talent and passion that for over thirty years they put into this colonial hotel, colombian country side, local traditions and this land.
By Andrea Landínez, Cesar Augusto Landínez and Mélida de Landínez’s granddaughter.
Giraldo, Hernando (Domingo 23 de Septiembre de1973) El Descubridor de Villa de Leyva. Colombia: Periodico El Espectador.
Villa de Nuestra Señora Santamaria de Leyva, Documento emitido por la alcadía Municipal de Villa de Leyva.
Rosa María, Gomer Medina
La Pastora, Gomer Medina
La Vírgen del Maíz, Gomer Medina
La Vírgen del Maíz, Gomer Medina
La Ultima Cena, Gomer Medina