Medellín is the second largest city of Colombia. It has a population of almost 2,5 million people (2014) and it is capital of the department of Antioquia. Everyone that plans to travel in Colombia must have heard of Medellín’s violent past. In the 1980’s en 1990’s Pablo Escobar, the most famous cocaine baron, had enormous influence in Medellín. His Cartel de Medellín was responsible for a lot of murders and violence, the cartels were responsible for around 25,100 violent deaths in 1991 and 27,100 in 1992. But, now this time has past for Medellin. The city has managed to develop itself into an industrious and popular city. In the more than twenty years after Escobar’s death in 1993 Medeillín as become a popular city in Colombia.
The weather in Medellín is said to be PERFECT. All year round the temperature is around 22 °C (72 °F), with variations between 15 to 30 °C (59 to 86 °F). This is considerably lower than expected for a city so close to the equator, because Medellin is located 1500 m above sea level. Medellin got the nickname “La Ciudad de la Eterna Primavera” or “City of the Eternal Spring”.
Why visit Medellín?
Medellín is a great city to visit in Colombia because of many reasons. Firstly, it has a slightly different culture than most Colombian cities. Medellin was colonized by Basques rather than Spaniards, and the people are proud of that. The original inhabitants of Medellin call themselves Paisas and keep traditional Paisa culture. Generally speaking Paisas are great enterpreneurs, eat their own Paisa dishes, listen to Paisa music and have a higher percentage of fair-skinned and blue-eyed people than the average of Colombia. If you are visiting Colombia it is definitely worth it to make a trip to Medellin. The other main reasons to visit Medellín are its Pablo Tobón Uribe Theatre (1967), the Modern Art Museum (1978), the Metropolitan Theatre (1987) and the Arví Ecotourism Park. The Arví Ecotourism Park is an amazing nature area of about 20,000 hectares from which the city can be overlooked. In the park you can visit trails, lakes, forests and streams, and practice various sports like trekking, kayaking, biking, bike tours, rowing, camping, fishing, horseback riding and swimming.
The most famous artist of Colombia, Botero, has a park of statues in the center of Medellin. You can also take the metro cable and use it to see the ghettos of Medellin. You can take the metro to the metro cable and ride it to the end. Then you just take the metro cable back right away. You can see a great view of Medellin and see poor areas that are not safe to access otherwise.
History of Medellin
Medellín went by the name of Aburrá when it was founded in 1616. The valley of Aburrá, where Medellin is located, was discovered in 1541. There is not much information about the indigenous cultures in this region, but there definitely was one before it was taken over by the colonization. Medellin is in many was different than many other cities in Colombia. As mentioned before, Paisas were the early settlers in this city. The Paisas divided the land into small farms and managed them without slaves. In most other settlements in Colombia slaves where managing plantations. The Paisas focused on self-reliance and kept mostly to themselves. This has preserved their traditional Paisa culture like food, music, work ethic and expressions.
Travel information and safety in Medellin
Even though Medellin has a bad reputation, it is save to visit it as a tourist. The violence of the past is over and much effort has been put into making the city safe. Nowadays the crime rates are similar to large cities in the United States. Even though Medellin is much loved by many Colombians, it has not yet been discovered by tourism.
Pictures of Medellin