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Municipio de Medellín


Nickname(s): Ciudad de la Eterna Primavera (City of the Eternal Spring)
Location of the city (dark gray) and municipality (red) of Medellín in Antioquia Department.
Medellín is located in Colombia
Location in Colombia
Coordinates: 6°13′51″N 75°35′26″W / 6.23083°N 75.59056°W / 6.23083; -75.59056Coordinates: 6°13′51″N 75°35′26″W / 6.23083°N 75.59056°W / 6.23083; -75.59056
Country ColombiaColombia
Department Antioquia
Founded 1616
 • Type Mayor-council
 • Body Alcaldía de Medellín
 • Mayor Aníbal Gaviria, 2012–2015
 • Municipality 380.64 km2 (146.97 sq mi)
 • Metro 1,152 km2 (445 sq mi)
Elevation 1,495 m (4,905 ft)
Population (2013)
 • Municipality 2,499,080
 • Metro 3,592,100 hab
Demonym Medellinean
medellinense [1] (es)
Area code(s) +57 4
HDI (2010) 0.886 – Very High.[2]
Website Official website

Medellín (Spanish pronunciation: [meðeˈʝin]), officially the Municipio de Medellín (Spanish for Municipality of Medellín), is the second-largest city in Colombia. It is in the Aburrá Valley, one of the most northerly of the Andes Mountains in South America. As of 2013, it has a population of 2.4 million. [3] With its surrounding area, the metropolitan area of Medellín (área metropolitana de Medellín), which includes nine other cities, it is the second largest urban agglomeration in Colombia in terms of population and economy, with more than 3.5 million people.

Medellín was founded in 1616 by the Spaniard Francisco Herrera Campuzano as Poblado de San Lorenzo (Saint Lawrence Town) in present-day El Poblado. In 1675 the queen consort Mariana of Austria created the Villa de Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria de Medellín (Town of Our Lady of Medellín).

In 1826 the city was named the capital of the Department of Antioquia by the National Congress of the young Republic of Greater Colombia (Gran Colombia), comprised by present day Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador and Panama. After Colombia won its independence from Spain, Medellín became the capital of the Federal State of Antioquia until 1888, with the proclamation of the Colombian Constitution of 1886. During the 19th century, Medellín was a dynamic commercial center, first exporting gold, then producing and exporting coffee.

At the beginning of the 21st century, the city has regained industrial dynamism, with the construction of the Medellín Metro commuter rail, and liberalized development policies, improved security, and improved education. Researchers at the Overseas Development Institute have lauded the city as a pioneer of a post-Washington consensus 'local development state' model of economic development.[4] The city is promoted internationally as a tourist destination and is considered by the GaWC as sufficient to be a global city.[5]

The Medellín Metropolitan Area produces 67% of the Department of Antioquia's GDP and 11% of the economy of Colombia.[6] Medellín is important to the region for its universities, academies, commerce, industry, science, health services, flower-growing, festivals and nightlife.

In February 2013, Medellín was chosen as the most innovative city in the world due to its recent advances in politics, education, and social development.[7] In the same year, Medellín was announced as the preferred corporate business destination in South America and won the Verónica Rudge Urbanism Award conferred by Harvard University to the Urban Development Enterprise, mainly due to the North-Western Integral Development Project in the city.[8]


The original Spanish settlement had five names before the current: Aburrá de los Yamesíes, San Lorenzo de Aburrá, San Lorenzo de Aná, Valle de San Bartolomé, and Villa de la Candelaria de Medellín.[citation needed]

The city is named after Medellín, Spain, which is near Badajoz in Extremadura. The Spanish Medellín was founded as Metellinum in 75 BC by Quintus Caecilius Metellus Pius.[9] Some of the Conquistadors, such as Gaspar de Rodas, the first governor of Antioquia, came from the region of Badajoz.

Count Pedro Portocarrero y Luna, President of the Council for the West Indies (Consejo de Indias), asked the Spanish monarchy to give the name of his town, Medellín in Extremadura, to the new settlement in America. His request was accepted on November 22, 1674, when the Regent Mariana of Austria proclaimed the city's name to be Villa de Nuestra Señora de Medellín. Miguel Aguinaga y Mendiogoitia, Governor, made the name official on November 2, 1675. The Crown granted a coat of arms to the city on June 24, 1676.[9]


The coat of arms, flag and anthem of the city, has the recognition of official symbols of the municipality of Medellín according to Decree No. 151 of February 20, 2002, and as emblems of the city are part of the corporate image of management municipal, and therefore are present in the acts, events and official media in which these should appear by its representative character.

Coat of Arms[edit]

The Medellín coat of arms is the oldest emblem of the city, has its origins in the granting of its use by King Charles II of Spain through the Real Decreto issued in Madrid on March 31 of 1678 whose document says:

Heraldic version Versions of the municipality bodies
Escudo de Medellin.svg Escudo de Medellín (versión Alcaldía).svg Escudo de Medellín (versión Concejo).svg
With the shape called modern French style Version currently used by the Mayor Version currently used by the Council
"...A blue field coat and in then a very thick and round tower, all around her battlements and a coat of arms which has fifteen parts – seven blue and eight gold – and on it a crown that touches the tower, on each of the sides a smaller tower, and in between them an image of Our Lady on a cloud with her son in her arms...".

However, a more refined and structured in heraldic language, though not official, would be:

"In an Azure field, a round tower of gold stands, masoned and clarified by sable, with a checkered escutcheon of 15 pieces – 7 blue and 8 gold (coat of arms of House of Portocarrero) – stamped with an ancient crown of gold between its two towers, with a cloud upon which stands the image of Our Lady of Candelaria carrying the Child in her left arm, a candle in her right hand, radiant, she is flanked by forming clouds from each county. "
First coat of arms of Medellín
Coat of Arms of Medellín in the year 1678

The blazon has remained over time since it was granted, without further changes to the aesthetics, it is noteworthy that there are different stylistic versions between the Mayor and City Council also meets aesthetic no heraldic standards.


To strengthen the links with the region, the municipality adopted the flag of the Department of Antioquia, which was added to the coat of arms of the city, so that these could make difference. The flag consists of two horizontal stripes of equal proportions, the white top and green bottom, and in the middle between two strips is located the coat. The white color symbolizes purity, integrity, obedience, firmness and eloquence. The green represents hope, abundance, freedom and faith.


The anthem of the city of Medellín is Anthem of Antioquia, according to Decree No. 151 of February 20, 2002, Article 10, which says: "Anthem of Medellín. To unify the ideals of the region the Antioquia anthem is adopted (lyrics by Epifanio Mejía and music by Gonzalo Vidal) as the Anthem of the Municipality of Medellín. It will be sung in all official functions where the Mayor of Medellín is present. "


Spanish discovery of the valley.([edit]

Marshal Jorge Robledo

In August 1541, Marshal Jorge Robledo was in the place known today as Heliconia when he saw in the distance what he thought was a valley. He sent Jerónimo Luis Tejelo to explore the territory, and during the night of August 23 Tejelo reached the plain of what is now Medellín. The Spaniards gave it the name of Valley of Saint Bartholomew, but this was soon changed for the native name Aburrá, which means the "Painters," due to the textile decorations of the natives.[10]

In 1574, Gaspar de Rodas asked the Antioquia's Cabildo for four square miles (10 km2) of land to establish herds and a ranch in the valley. The Cabildo granted him three miles (4.8 km) of land.[10]

In 1616, the colonial visitor Francisco de Herrera y Campuzano founded a settlement with 80 Amerindians, naming it "Poblado de San Lorenzo," today "El Poblado Square". In 1646 a colonial law ordered the separation of Amerindians from mestizos and mulattos, so the colonial administration began the construction of a new town in Aná, today Berrío Park, where the church of Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria de Aná ("Our Lady of Candelaria of Aná") was built. Three years later, the Spaniards started the construction of the Basilica of Our Lady of Candelaria, which was rebuilt at the end of the 18th century.[10]

Growth of the town[edit]

Catedral Metropolitana de Medellín. is a major architectural works of Colombia, was declared a National Monument of Colombia on March 12 of 1982.

After 1574, with Gaspar de Rodas settled in the valley, population started to grow. According to the church records of the San Lorenzo Church, six couples married between 1646 and 1650, and 41 between 1671 and 1675.[10] Gold mines were developed northeast of Antioquia, and they needed a food supply from nearby agriculture. The Aburrá Valley was in a strategic position between the gold mines and the first provincial capital of Antioquia, Santa Fe de Antioquia.[10]

The provincial capital, Santa Fe, started to lose importance and gradually became poor, as trade and prominent personalities of the region came to the Aburrá Valley, where rich families started to buy land. Soon, the first settlers asked for the creation of a Cabildo (council) in the valley, thus getting a separate government from Santa Fe.[10] The Santa Fe government fought this, but Mariana of Austria signed the edict creating the Cabildo on November 22, 1674. The governor Miguel de Aguinaga proclaimed the royal edict on 2 November 1675. The new city was given the title of Villa de Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria It is the second largest city in Colombia .[10]

During the Spanish colonial period[edit]

Map of Medellín as it was in 1791

Before the creation of the town, the inhabitants were scattered throughout the valley, with only a few families concentrated at the confluence of the Aná (today called the Santa Elena) and the Medellín rivers; others lived in El Poblado San Lorenzo. After the royal edict, the settlers chose the Aná site as the heart of the future city, with the Candelaria Church at its center.[citation needed]

Their first buildings were simple, with thatched roofs. The houses of the most important people were two stories tall, and the church and the Cabildo were unimpressive. It was only during the 18th century that the church was improved. Only one story, the Cabildo was located at the western part of the plaza. It had a thatched roof until 1742, when tiles were put on. In 1682, traders and foreigners started the construction of the Veracruz Hermitage, which was consecrated as a church by the Bishop of Popayán in 1712.[10]

Carré building

In 1675 the first census during colonial times was taken: there were 3,000 people and 280 families. Another census was not taken until the colonial Visitador (royal inspector) Antonio Mon y Velarde ordered one between 1786 and 1787: there were then 14,507 people and 241 families. In 1808, two years before Colombia won independence, the city had 15,347 people and 360 families.[10]

In 1803 the Royal College of the Franciscans was founded in the Central Plaza (today Berrío Square) with Departments of Grammar, Philosophy and Theology.[11] Soon after, the College moved to a new building in the small San Ignacio square. In 1821 it was renamed Colegio de Antioquia, and it became the University of Antioquia in 1901. The University also had the first vocational training school, the first cultural radio station in Latin America, and the first regional botanical garden.

Industrial revolution[edit]

Central Rail Station

In the first half of the twentieth century, the population of Medellín increased sixfold, from 59,815 inhabitants in 1905 to 358,189 in 1951. The Thousand Days War (1899–1902) stopped the industrial development of the city, although the civil war did not affect the region directly. Under reforms by President Rafael Reyes after the conflict, the city continued its industrial development[10] and founded a Chamber of commerce. The Chamber developed a regional transport project that connected Medellín to other Colombian regions and other nations.

Despite the importance of gold production in the early development of Medellín, the export of coffee contributed the most impetus in the 20th century for the city's growth. Trade grew to international dimensions as the main export of Colombia became coffee. The industrial and commercial dynamism of Medellín also created a caste of traders and entrepreneurs, who founded the first nationwide industries in Colombia.[10]

The Coltejer Building (1968–1972), the tallest building in Medellín, has become a symbol of the city.

Trade in Medellín[edit]

Coltejer is one of the most important textile companies in Colombia. It was founded in Medellín by Alejandro Echavarría on October 22, 1907.[12]

The discovery of coal in Amagá, a few miles south of the Aburrá Valley, and the building of hydroelectric plants provided the new industries with energy, and this allowed the creation of many smaller companies. The Antioquia Railway (built in 1875) conquered the difficult geography of one of the most mountainous regions of South America, notably with the La Quiebra Tunnel, which connected the industrial center to the Magdalena River, the most major navigable river in Colombia. In 1932 Medellín also built its first airport, the Enrique Olaya Herrera Airport.[10]

The study by Charles H. Savage on industrial production in Antioquia between 1960 and 1972 showed how important Medellín industries became to Colombia and South America. He studied social change produced by the introduction of new technology. Savage looked at three factories in Antioquia: two potteries in Santuario and La Blanca, and a tailoring factory in Medellín. Savage studied the production of the Antioquian factories, and the relationship between the workers and their employers, an industrial efficiency which he called the "Culture of Work".[13] His conclusions were published by his colleague George F. Lombardi as Sons of the Machine] (1988).[14][15]

Art and literature during the first part of the 20th century[edit]

The University of Antioquia, the National University of Colombia with its Medellín branch, and the Pontifical Bolivarian University have historically been the academic centers of the city and are responsible for the formation of an intellectual class in the region.

Faculty of Mines of the National University of Colombia, Medellín branch.

Arts and literature have been an important social element in Medellín. During the first part of the 20th century the city was part of the literary transition from romanticism to the modern art and literary movements of the new century.[citation needed] The writer Tomás Carrasquilla (1858–1940) focused on the people of his native Antioquia, portraying their daily lives and customs. The writer and philosopher Fernando González from Envigado (in the metropolitan area of Medellín), the cartoonist Ricardo Rendón and the poet León de Greiff were some of the founders of Los Panidas, a Medellín literary movement. Other featured poets and writers were Porfirio Barba-Jacob and Efe Gómez. In painting, the most famous were Eladio Vélez and Pedro Nel Gómez. Carlos Vieco Ortiz was a popular composer and musician. Medellín became the headquarters of record labels like Sonolux, Ondina and Silver.[10]

Medellín clubs, many of them dating to the end of the 19th century became a center for intellectual and industrialist movements, like the Club Union (founded in 1894) and Club Campestre (founded in 1924). In 1909 the Circo España was created and Teatro Bolívar, in 1919. The beautiful Teatro Junín was demolished to build the Coltejer Tower. Cine Colombia, the first movie distributor of the country, was founded in Medellín in 1927.[10]

Growth in second half of 20th century[edit]

El Poblado, a wealthy southern district, is one of Colombia's most important urban and economic centers.

Colombia entered a new era of political instability with the murder of presidential candidate Jorge Eliecer Gaitán in Bogotá in 1948. Political violence spread in the rural areas of Colombia, and farmers fled to the cities.[16] The Valley slopes became overpopulated with slums.

As the population of Medellín grew quickly during the 1950s, industrialists, traders and local government created the "Medellín Master Plan" (MMP) (Plan Piloto), a plan for the expansion of the city into the Aburrá Valley that would lead to the creation of the first metropolitan area in Colombia. Paul Lester Wiener and José Luis Sert were the architects who led the project. Among the main features of the MMP were the canalization of the Medellín River, the control of new settlements on valley slopes, the creation of an industrial zone in the Guayabal District, the planning of the city to be in harmony with the river, the construction of a city stadium, and an administrative center in La Alpujarra.[10]

In 1951 the city had 358,189 inhabitants, but 22 years later, in 1973, the population had tripled to 1,071,252.[17] The population explosion had several consequences for the MMP. The urban limits of the city grew to areas that were not contemplated in the MMP, so that Medellín now reached the urban areas of other cities of the Aburrá Valley, like Envigado, Bello and Itagüí; the new Medellín settlers were poor families without enough credit to buy their own homes, so several neighborhoods were built beyond the MMP; several old downtown buildings were demolished to construct tall towers, offices, and avenues. The beautiful and traditional Junin Theatre along the Santa Elena was demolished to build the Coltejer Tower. The huge migration into Medellín provided workers for the expansion of textile factories, being modernized in this period,[10] but it also created new problems for the city: higher unemployment, lack of services for poor areas, urban violence in several districts, and collapse of any hope of a transport system.[citation needed]


Medellín skyline, to the west of the city.

The position of Medellín as the second industrial city in Colombia has been a main factor in overcoming its crisis of the 1980s and 1990s. The Metro de Medellín, a massive urban transport service, became the pride of the city, and so far the only sign of the Medellín Master Plan of the 1950s. The construction of the Plaza Mayor of Medellín, an international center for congresses and expositions, was designed to showcase the globalized economy of Colombia to the world.

Social exclusion has eased due to the development of a transport infrastructure; the Metro, a new system of public buses, is being planned with the so-called "Metroplus", already inaugurated, and a network of chair-lifts in the poorest barrio communities called the "MetroCable".[4] Additionally, an electric escalator 1,260 feet long was inaugurated in Comuna 13, one of Medellín's poorest neighborhoods, on December 26, 2011, making it the first and only one of its kind in the world. Today's Medellín includes spaces for art, poetry, drama, the construction of public libraries, the foundation of new ecological parks, and the inclusion of people of the city in its development.[18]

The city administration has pursued policies that have been lauded by researchers at the Overseas Development Institute as helping pioneer a post-Washington consensus 'local development state' model of economic development, see here.[4]

In 2012, Medellín was among 200 cities around the world, including New York and Tel Aviv, nominated for Most Innovative City of the Year due to a great advancement in public transportation, with more than 500,000 residents and visitors using its Metro train system each day; a public bike-share program; new facilities and landmarks, including the España Library and a cultural center in Moravia; a large outdoor escalator the size of a 28-story building, enabling residents of the city’s elevated Comuna 13 neighborhood to safely ride down the steep hillside; and a Metro system which reduces Medellín’s CO2 emissions by 175,000 tons each year.[19] Medellín has the biggest research-dedicated building in Colombia called University Research Building (Spanish: Sede de Investigación Universitaria -SIU-)[20] a facility that concentrates the top research groups of the University of Antioquia[21] (Spanish: Universidad de Antioquia).

Geography and climate[edit]

View of Medellín at night

Medellín, as a municipality, has an area of 382 km2 (147 sq mi). It has 16 comunas (districts), 5 corregimientos (townships), and 271 barrios. The metropolitan area of Medellín lies within the Aburrá valley at an elevation of 1,500 meters (about 4921 feet) and is bisected by the Medellín River (also called Porce), which flows northward. North of the valley are the towns of Bello, Copacabana, Girardota and Barbosa. To the south of the valley lie Itagüí, Envigado, Sabaneta, La Estrella and Caldas.

Medellín features a tropical rainforest climate (Af), albeit a noticeably cooler version of this climate that borders closely on a subtropical highland climate (Cfb) and also on a tropical monsoon climate (Am). Because Medellín is located at 5,000 ft (1,500 m) above sea level, its climate is not as hot as other cities located at the same latitude near the equator. Because of its altitude above sea level and privileged location in the Andes Range, Medellín's weather at times is more characteristic of a humid subtropical climate than that of a tropical climate. The city's average annual temperature is 22 °C (72 °F), and because of its proximity to the equator, its temperature is constant year round, with minimal temperature variations. Temperatures range from 15 to 30 °C (59 to 86 °F). Because of the pleasant springlike climate all year, Medellín is known as “La Ciudad de la Eterna Primavera” or “City of the Eternal Spring”. However, as the city is located in a valley and many of its districts are on slopes, temperatures can be slightly cooler on the surrounding mountains.

Climate data for Medellín
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 31.6
Average high °C (°F) 27.7
Average low °C (°F) 16.7
Record low °C (°F) 12.4
Rainfall mm (inches) 61.4
Avg. rainy days 12 13 17 21 24 18 16 20 22 25 21 15 224
 % humidity 66 66 67 70 71 67 63 65 69 72 73 70 68.3
Mean monthly sunshine hours 175.5 149 154.2 127.9 138.9 173 203.2 191.6 153.4 132.9 136.4 156.2 1,892.2

Administrative divisions[edit]

Comunas of Medellín
Corregimientos (townships, rural areas) of Medellín

Medellín is a city governed by a republican democratic system as stated in the Colombian Constitution of 1991, with decentralized government. Administration is shared by the Mayor of Medellín and the Municipal Council, both elected by popular vote.

The municipality is made up of official departments (secretarías) including departments for social mobility, urban culture, social development, education, evaluation and control, government, resources, public works, administrative services, environment, women, and transportation. There are also many departments with a certain autonomy: the Olaya Herrera Airport, the Public Library (Biblioteca Pública Piloto), the College of Antioquia (Colegio Mayor), the Urban Development Enterprise (EDU), the Public Service Enterprise (EEPPM), the Sport and Recreation Institute (INDER), the General Enterprises of Medellín (EEVVM), the Medellín Bus stations, the General Hospital of Medellín, the health service enterprise "Metrosalud", the Metropolitan Institute of Technology (ITM), the Metro de Medellín, the Department for the Administration of the Medellín parks (Metroparques) and Metroseguridad.

The city belongs to the Medellín Metropolitan Area, which is made up of ten municipalities. Medellín is divided into six zones and these are subdivided into 16 comunas (communes). The barrios and urban institutional areas make up the communes. More than 249 barrios and five townships are part of the municipality of Medellín.


  • South-eastern Zone: El Poblado communes.
  • South-western Zone: Guayabal and Belén communes.
  • West Central Zone: Laureles, La América and San Javier communes.
  • East Central Zone: La Candelaria, Villa Hermosa and Buenos Aires communes.
  • North-western Zone: Castilla, Doce de Octubre and Robledo communes.
  • North-eastern Zone: Aranjuez, Manrique, Popular and Santa Cruz communes.
  • Corregimientos (townships): San Sebastián de Palmitas, San Cristóbal, Altavista, San Antonio de Prado and Santa Elena.
downtown Medellín

Law and government[edit]

The government of the City of Medellín is divided into executive and legislative branches. The Mayor of the City (Alcalde) is publicly elected for a term of four years (just like the President and the Governor of any other Department in Colombia).

Local development state[edit]

Low tax rates mean Medellín's city administration's social and economic development policies have been funded by the city's ownership of the main energy supplier, Empresas Publicas de Medellín (EPM); 30% of its profits go directly to the city's administrative budget.[4] In addition to infrastructure projects, the city administration has developed a program of cash grants called 'the Medellín Solidaria' programme that are very similar to Brazil's highly successful Bolsa Familia and also the city runs the Cultura E programme.[4]

According to the city administration, Medellín Solidaria represents an improvement on Colombia's national programme, 'Familias en Accion' (Families in Action).[4] The city administration is further responsible for coordinating more than 100 other social programmes.[4] Under the Cultura E programme, the city administration has established a network of 14 publicly funded business support centres known as CEDEZO, Centros de Desarrollo Empresarial Zonal).[4] The CEDEZOs are found in the poorest areas of Medellín and support the poor in developing business by providing free-of-charge business support services and technical advice.[4]

Also, as part of Cultura E, there is Banco de las Opportunidades that provides microloans (up to $2,500 at a cheap interest rates 0.91% monthly).[4] This has helped create more equal opportunities for all and overcome the barriers to entry to business for poor entrepreneurs with good ideas, but lacking capital, skills and connections.[4] It has also helped develop the local economy with new micro-enterprises.[4]

However, several mayoral candidates for the October 2011 elections have argued the Banco de las Opportunidades's interest rates are too high, loan maturity is too short and it should have grace periods.[4] They therefore suggest a new small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) development bank to complement the Banco de las Opportunidades.


Medellín was once known as the most violent city in the world,[23][24] a result of an urban war set off by the drug cartels at the end of the 1980s. As the home of the Medellín Cartel funded by Pablo Escobar, the city was victim of the terror caused by the war between the organization headed by Escobar, and competing organizations such as "El Cartel del Valle". However, after the death of Escobar, crime rates in the city began to decrease.[25]

Throughout the rest of the 1990s crime rates remained relatively high, although gradually declining from the worst years. In October 2002, President Álvaro Uribe ordered the military to carry out "Operation Orion," whose objective was to disband the urban militias of the FARC and the AUC.[25] Between 2003 and 2006 the demobilization of the remaining urban militias of the AUC was completed, with more than 3,000 armed men giving up their weapons.[26]

Nonetheless after the disbanding of the main paramilitary groups, many members of such organizations have been known to have reorganized into criminal bands known commonly as Aguilas Negras. These groups have gained notoriety in Medellín for calling upon curfews for the underage population, and have been known to distribute fliers announcing the social cleansing of prostitutes, drug addicts, and alcoholics.[27] The extradition of paramilitary leader Don Berna appears to have sparked a crime wave with a sharp increase in killings.[28]

There were 33% more murders in 2008 than 2007, with an increase from 654 to 871 violent deaths.[29] This increased further by over 200% in 2009 to 2,899 violent deaths, or about 110 deaths per 100,000 people, 2.5 times the average homicide rate in Colombia and 20 times the average homicide rate in the United States for that same year. An average of 9 people were killed every day in 2009.[30][31] There is a significant disparity in crime rates by neighborhoods, with virtually no homicides in El Poblado to areas with open gunfights in the outskirts. Generally, crime rates increase the further the neighborhood is from the center.[32] From 2010 and 2011, homicides have declined as with crime in general, but there remains a high crime rate in the poorest communities. Recently, a turf war has broken out between The Office of Envigado and Los Urabeños cartels.[33]


Headquarters of Argos Company, the first cement industrial group of Colombia[34]
Northeastern Medellín

Medellín is one of Colombia's economic centers. Its economy is led by a powerful group of people from the private sector known as the Grupo Empresarial Antioqueño (Antioquian Enterprises Group). The group was formerly known as the Sindicato Antioqueño (Antioquian Union) but after being mistaken abroad for a labor union, which hampered its international growth for many years, a new formal name was chosen. It is represented by David Bojanini, head of Suramericana de Seguros (an insurance conglomerate); Carlos Piedrahita of Grupo Nutresa (food industry); José Alberto Velez of Cementos Argos (a multinational cement company); and Jorge Londoño, head of Bancolombia. This group has an aggregate market capitalization of approximately US $17 billion and employs more than 80,000 Colombians.[35]

Headquarters of Bancolombia, the largest commercial bank in Colombia and one of the largest in Latin America, in Medellín

This group also participates in other sectors of the city industry and is an active trader in the Colombian stock exchange. Medellín serves as headquarters for many national and multinational companies.

Medellín's main economic products are steel, textiles, confections, food and beverage, agriculture (from its rural area), public services, chemical products, pharmaceuticals, refined oil, and flowers. Fashion is a major part of the economy and culture of the city. Medellín hosts Latin America's biggest fashion show: Colombiamoda.

Aerolínea de Antioquia has its headquarters on the grounds of Enrique Olaya Herrera Airport in Medellín.[36] West Caribbean Airways had its headquarters on the grounds of Olaya Herrera Airport.[37] ACES Colombia was headquartered in the city.[38] VivaColombia, the only low-cost Colombian airline, has its hub at Rionegro's Airport. Fresita is an ice cream and paleta maker in the city.

Gross domestic product[edit]

Edificio Inteligente (The "Intelligent Tower")

The Metropolitan Area of Medellín contributes 67% of the total GDP of the Department of Antioquia and 11% of the economy of Colombia.[6] The city of Medellín contributes 55% of the GDP of the department. Antioquia is the second greatest economic region of Colombia. By 2005, Antioquia's GDP was more than USD 14,700,000,000 and the top exporting province in Colombia.[39] The Aburrá Valley is the top economy in the province and its GDP was USD 7,800 million.[6] Medellín is the second largest economic region in Colombia after Bogotá.

The 2005 Report of the Economic Colombian Review of Proexport and the International Cooperation Agency of Medellín concluded that Medellín was at the same level of GDP contribution to the national economy as cities like Panama in Panama, and San José de Costa Rica.

Medellín Cluster[edit]

Medellín created the first Colombian business cluster. The city is the top exporting region of the country, with 1,750 export businesses based in Medellín.[39] The Cluster was created with the support of the Chamber of Commerce of Medellín and the City Administration for an actual total of 21,000 companies that share 40% of total exports, 25% of the regional GDP, and 40% of Metro Area employment.[39] The main economic activities of the Medellín Cluster (MC) are in electricity generation, textile, fashion design, construction, tourism and business.[40] One current goal of the Medellín Cluster is to include health services, an important sector in the local economy.

Culture, tourism and recreation[edit]

Palacio de la Cultura: Rafael Uribe Uribe
La Raza Monument, a work in bronze and concrete by Rodrigo Arenas Betancur, 124 feet tall. It is located in La Alpujarra Administrative Center.
Palacio de Bellas Artes

Many cultural centers enrich the city such as the Pablo Tobón Uribe Theatre (1967), the Modern Art Museum (1978), and the Metropolitan Theatre (1987). In 2000 the traditional Museum of Antioquia had a second official opening featuring many works of Fernando Botero. For more information see Cultura en Medellín in Wikipedia in Spanish es:Cultura en Medellín.

International Centre of Conventions and Exhibitions "Plaza Mayor", Alpujarra sector

The city boasts the Plaza Mayor, which is the epicenter of large events and business. The hotel infrastructure is focused primarily to executive market, offering all the necessities required for this segment, some include rooms almost all types of events.

One of the most visited sites is the Arví Ecotourism Park, which has an area of about 20,000 hectares, covers virtually the entire territory of the village of Santa Elena, and runs between the towns of Bello, Copacabana, and Envigado. In its trails, lakes, forests and streams, it can practice various sports and activities like trekking, kayaking, biking, camping, fishing, swimming, sailing rowing, horseback riding, bike tours and picnics. Its supervisory position over Medellín allows it to offer natural landscapes overlooking over the entire city.[citation needed]

The city is surrounded from above by seven Foster hills, who offer a variety of services, as well as serving as natural viewpoints of the big city, are considered suitable sites for the healthy leisure, recreation, enjoyment, research, sport, culture, education and ecotourism. This set consists of El Volador, La Asomadera, Nutibara, Pan de Azúcar, El Salvador, El Picacho and Santo Domingo. In these natural public spaces can find a varied offer including viewpoints, pre-Hispanic roads, religious icons, culture and Antioquian traditions, bird watching (ornithology), the most complete herbal living of Aburrá Valley and the remains of early settlers native of Medellín, among other attractions.

Christmas Lighting (2007) on the Medellín River

Most people in Medellín are Catholic, as reflected by Medellín's churches and religious activities. In December dates the city is covered with thousands of fairy lights, creating the famous Christmas lights, which are considered by the National Geographic as one of the ten most beautiful in the world,[41] and which can be seen mainly in the Avenue la Playa and the Medellín River.

Among the most representative churches are the Metropolitan Cathedral, of Eclectic style prevailing the Romanesque; is 45 meters of high and 5,000 m2 (53,819.55 sq ft) of area, built entirely in baked brick, aspect which is the largest cathedral in the world in such material. There is also the Basilica of Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria, which was the official cathedral until 1931, the Church of la Veracruz, the oldest of Medellín, the Church of San Ignacio, Baroque on the outside and Colonial on inside, the Church of San José (center), the Church of San Antonio, which has one of the biggest domes in Colombia, all of these temples have a great religious art and are located in the center of the city, which facilitates their journeys. It also highlights the Church of San José del Poblado, located in the Parque del Poblado where it founded the first settlement of the Aburrá Valley in 1616.

Plaza Botero, in the background the Museum of Antioquia

By direction of the Municipal Government, between 1980 and 1990 all development or tall building to be built should include a sculpture of a famous artist. That is one reason why the Colombian city of Medellín is the largest number of sculptures per square kilometer and is the most traditional arts in the artistic cast.[citation needed]

Furthermore, in the city have made festivals and art exhibitions that have left valuable works. The center of Medellín has the largest number of sculptures, together with the Avenida el Poblado and Sculpture Park in Nutibara Hill.[citation needed]

Works of many prominent artists, both local and foreign, can be seen on the streets of the city, among many others, some artists that stand out are the masters Rodrigo Arenas Betancur and Fernando Botero.

Urban development[edit]

There are signs of heavy urban development within the city of Medellín, particularly with the construction of new skyscrapers. Medellín is currently outpacing all other major Colombian cities, including Bogotá, in the construction and proposed development of new high-rises. As of April, 2010, there were 124 high-rises under construction in Medellín, including 42 being planned.[42] Other projects that the city has planned are extensions of the cities metro system to nearby suburbs such as Sabaneta. Currently in construction the new project is set to open to the public soon.

Medellín, the second largest city in Colombia, was awarded 2013 "Innovative City of the Year" on March 1 after beating out New York City and Tel Aviv.[43]

In 2013 a high-rise apartment block collapsed, but residents had been evacuated days before after cracks were spotted in the walls.[44]

Planning for Urban Transformation[edit]

When Sergio Fajardo became Mayor of Medellín in 2004, the “Medellín, Commitment of all the Citizens” plan for the City was enacted. One of its fundamental axes was described as “Social Urbanism”.[45] The final objective of this model was to promote peace and social equity through its urban policies. To accomplish this, priority was given to the areas of the city where bigger social and economic issues were found. The main tool used with this objective was the planning and development of urban projects that would transform the physical environment while promoting profound social and cultural shifts in the communities they were implemented.[46]

The projects were identified and prioritized using six main guidelines as described in the City Plan by the Council of Medellín:[47]

  • The indicators of human development and quality of life will guide the public investment, focusing on first serving the ones in the biggest need.
  • Public space and infrastructure must become the framework where education and culture are cultivated in places of encounter and coexistence.
  • Urban projects must simultaneously integrate physical, cultural and social components; improving not only places but also the life and interactions of people in the communities.
  • The Integrated Metropolitan Transport System must be used as the organizing axis of mobility and projects in the city. All projects have to be directly linked to the main transport system.
  • The decision to make Medellín an educated city. Education and culture as priorities that guide programs and projects.

Aside from usual city investment in public infrastructure and as a result of this approach to city development, there were four main concrete projects that were established to help achieve the objectives of peace and social equity based on the guidelines proposed in the Medellín City Plan by the Council of Medellín.[47]

Library Parks and Educational Infrastructure[edit]

Five striking new libraries with attached parks were built to serve underprivileged neighborhoods. Those added included Biblioteca Parque España designed by Giancarlo Mazzanti.[48][49] Architects of the other libraries added as part of the program include Ricardo La Rotta Caballero and Hiroshi Naito. The four other libraries added as part of the city's education development program and redevelopment efforts were Parque Biblioteca La Ladera, Parque Biblioteca San Javier, Parque Biblioteca Belén, and Parque Biblioteca La Quintana. After the initial 2009 program another five libraries were added to the plan for 2011. These libraries are the Parque Biblioteca Doce de Octubre for Comunas 5 and 6, Noroccidente; Parque Biblioteca Las Estancias for Comunas 8, 9, and Centroriental; Parque Biblioteca Guayabal for Comuna 15 and Suroccidente; Parque Biblioteca San Cristóbal] for Corregimiento and Occidente; and Parque Biblioteca San Antonio de Prado for Corregimiento and Sur.[50]

The development of library complexes and schools is part of an effort at cultural transformation.[51] This project also aims to create centralities inside the intervened areas that help consolidate and give a clearer identity to the communities. They are meant to provide a network of activity centers for the promotion of education, culture, sport, and recreation.

Comprehensive Urban Projects[edit]

The main objective of these projects is to fight inequity and exclusion. The neighborhoods with the biggest inequity and violence issues are identified and important investments are made in them. There is no previous agenda over what the specific nature of the interventions will finally be since the projects use a communicative approach to define what is best for the community with the active participation of its members.[47] The outcomes will depend on what the neighborhood decides supported by the inclusion of the expertise of city organizations. The projects will have to incorporate all the elements needed to foster development and will be executed simultaneously to assure the biggest impact.

buildings in the eastern avenue.

Public Housing for Populations in Risk Zones[edit]

The public investment in housing must be oriented to supply the needs of the population in critical economic and social conditions that are usually linked to inappropriate housing in risk areas. Large portions of the population that live under these conditions have no access to sanitation and are located in areas where these types of issues have been recurring.[52] These types of projects can also open the possibility to an urban reorganization of the neighborhood since risk areas are cleared of constructions giving space to new adequate infrastructure. If relocation of the population is necessary, it must be preferably done inside the same neighborhood to prevent a rupture of the social fabric and to keep the sense of community.

Connecting the city[edit]

The city has to be recovered for the people. The different areas of the city must be connected through the improvement of streets and pathways, the creation of Lineal Parks and an efficient and innovative public transport system. These projects simultaneously incorporate public space, mobility with priority in public and alternative transport, and culture that is expressed through public participation.[53] The objective of these interventions is the creation of a network of streets, pathways and public transport where people can not only move across the city, but also meet and share in quality spaces and infrastructure. These interventions have to prioritize neighborhoods that have social and economic issues and will ideally link the other projects created under this plan.


Medellín is considered a top notch research city in medicine in Colombia, being an exponent of advance surgical operations in the country and Latin America. Health Clinics and Dental Centers in Medellín have become pioneers in offering high quality services in several medical areas. Specialized Health Centres such as San Vicente Foundation hospitals were recognized with LEED certification, Silver Category (Energetic and Environmental Leadership). This is the only hospital abroad of the United States of America that has obtained such a certification [54] Among the most recognized universities with notable research work in medicine could be listed: University of Antioquia, CES University [55] and San Buenaventura University.


Medellín is also home to over 30 universities. Among the most important are the public universities

Universidad EAFIT's Library
  • Escuela de Ingenieria de Antioquia (Antioquia's Engineer School)
  • Universidad Santo Tomas (St. Tomas University)
  • Servicio Nacional de Aprendizaje SENA (Colombia's National Service of Learning SENA)
  • Universidad CES ( CES University)
  • Universidad Nacional Abierta y a Distancia

There are also important technological centers such as the

The Central Plaza in the University of Antioquia

During the last decade, the administration of the city has emphasized public education, building schools and libraries in poor quarters. Private schools and colleges have a long tradition in the city, many run by the Catholic Church, private organizations, and foreign institutions. Among of them are Gimnasio Internacional de Medellín, The Columbus School (the only SACS-approved school in the city), Theodoro Hertzl School, San Ignacio de Loyola School, Colegio Calasanz, Colegio Colombo Britanico, El Corazonista School, Marymount School, Montemayor Sagrado Corazon, Montessori School, Colegio Fontán, Gimnasio Los Pinares, Gimnasio Los Alcázares, San Jose de la Salle, Instituto Jorge Robledo, the Salesian Technical School Pedro Justo Berrío, Colegio Cumbres,'El Sufragio' Salesian School and many others.

Many non-governmental organizations and official organizations support the development of children and youth from poor communities. Ciudad Don Bosco cares for street children.[56] The pacification of the city brought organizations to the poorest quarters to work with youth involved in urban violence, in order to improve their opportunities. Medellín universities, public and private, also played a role, along with official institutions both local and national.


Air transportation[edit]

Medellín is served by two airports. One of them, The José María Córdova International Airport (MDE) is in Rionegro, another municipality east of Medellín and outside the Aburrá Valley. It serves both international and domestic destinations, and can handle large aircraft and night landings. There are international flights daily to and from United States, Spain and Latin America, and other important cities. Olaya Herrera Airport (EOH) serves mainly regional flights, commuter and light aircraft.

Land transportation[edit]

Integrated public transport system, Metroplús.

Medellín has two transportation terminals, Terminal de Transporte Intermunicipal del Norte (North Transportation Terminal) and Terminal de Transporte Intermunicipal del Sur (South Transportation Terminal). The city's public transport system includes diesel buses, taxis, and an urban train referred as the Medellín Metro, the only metro system in Colombia. The Metro connects the city with most of its metropolitan area. Line A goes from Niquía to Itagüí (north to south), while Line B goes from San Antonio to San Javier (downtown to west).

Rapid transit system of Medellín, Metro.

In addition, Line K and Line J, an air cable car, locally known as Metrocable, serve a depressed and geographically difficult area. Line K begins at Acevedo Station on Metro Line A, and continues uphill, ending at Santo Domingo Savio. Line J begins at San Javier Station on Metro Line B, and continues uphill to La Aurora. A new Metrocable line (Line S) is planned to open in 2009, and will connect Santo Domingo Savio with El Tambo in Arví Park near Guarne. Colombia has become Latin America's largest user of such complementary transportation service throughout the country.

Map of Metro stations

In 2006, construction began on Metroplús, a bus service with a dedicated road, much like Bogotá's TransMilenio. This will allow faster transit for the service's buses and Metro stations. Metroplus will be inaugurated in 2009, and it will cover most of the city. The first leg will be the Troncal Medellín, which goes from the Universidad de Medellín in the west to Aranjuez in the northeast part of the city. Metroplus will help lessen the city's pollution and traffic, as many old buses will be taken out of service, while the new buses will work with natural gas [2].

Medellín´s Metrocable

Because of its projects on sustainable transport, the city obtained, along with San Francisco, the 2012 Sustainable Transport Award, given by the Institute for Transport & Developmente Policy.[57] According to EMBARQ Director Holger Dalkmann “Medellín pioneered the use of cable cars as a transit alternative in low-income informal settlements in hilly areas, moving 3,000 passengers per hour per direction; a real breakthrough now being replicated in Caracas and Rio de Janeiro,”

Western Tunnel; the longest and most modern of Latin America.

The Colombia and Latin America's largest and most modern tunnel, the Western Tunnel Fernando Gómez Martínez, is located between Medellín and Santa Fe de Antioquia. It is 4.6 km (3 mi) in length and offers security and service technologies for the users. It was inaugurated in January 20, 2006.[58][59]


he Aburrá Valley contains 58% of the population of the Department of Antioquia, and 67% of the Aburrá Valley population lives in the city of Medellín. Of the inhabitants of Medellín, 61.3% were born in the city, 38% in other parts of Colombia and 0,3% in another country.[60]

According to the National Administrative Department of Statistics, Medellín had, by 2005, a population of 2,223,078 inhabitants, making it the second largest city in Colombia. The metropolitan area of Medellín in 2005 included 3,312,165 inhabitants. There are 5820 people per square kilometer in the city. There were 130,031 people living in the city townships; 46.7% of the population are male and 53.3% are female. Illiteracy is 9.8% in persons older than 5 years old. 98.8% of the households in Medellín have electricity, 97.3% have drinking water, and 91% have a land-line phone.[60]

According to the 2005 DANE census, in that year Medellín registered 33,307 births,[61] slightly fewer than in 2004 (33,615). In 2005 the number of deaths was 10,828, in 2004 11,512.

Growing of the population of
Medellín between 1905 and 2005
with census
 % growing
year base 1905
1905* 59,815 100%
1912* 70,547 118%
1918* 79,146 132%
1928* 120,044 201%
1938* 168,266 281%
1951** 358,189 599%
1964** 772,887 1292%
1973** 1,077,252 1791%
1985** 1,468,089 2454%
1993** 1,630,009 2725%
2005** 2,223,078 3717%
Poblacion Medellin.png
*Historia de Antioquia[62] – **Censos del DANE


According to figures submitted by the DANE census 2005,[63] the ethnographic makeup of the city is:

During the 17th and 18th centuries, Medellín received many immigrants from Spain, and some forced immigration from West Africa.[citation needed] Most Indigenous peoples died from the introduction of European diseases, and many of those who survived intermarried with early Spanish settlers, who were mostly men; later, Spanish women also began to immigrate. During the 19th and 20th centuries, immigrants arrived from Lebanon, Jordan, Germany, Italy and Portugal. Many people from Medellín are referred to as Paisas, people of mainly Spanish ancestry, a lot of them Basque. There is a small Afro-Colombian and Zambo-Colombian (people of Indigenous and African descent) population .

The Chocó Department is just west of Antioquia, and is home to many Afro-Colombian and Zambo-Colombian migrants to Medellín and its vicinity. Migration from the Colombian Caribbean coast has been important, especially that of young people who come to study in Medellín universities and remain to work in the city. The main foreign immigration is of Ecuadorians in informal trade.


The inhabitants of Medellín are often called Antioqueños (Antioquians) after their province, rather than Medellinenses (Medellinians) after their city. They are also often known as Paisas, a name which some suggest comes from the coffee growers. The term Paisa comes from the word paisano (fellow countryman). Paisas make up one of the five different regional cultures within Colombia. The Paisa region includes the states of Caldas, Risaralda, Quindi­o and some towns of Valle del Cauca and Tolima.

Although Paisa culture is dominant in Medellí­n (the "Paisa Capital"), the city is becoming more cosmopolitan, now offering music from other regions of Colombia (Vallenato and Chocó), and a variety of restaurants including Chinese, Cuban, and Argentinian.

The Paisa culture has a Spanish background, and is traditionally Catholic, entrepreneurial, hard-working, and famously hospitable. Paisas are said to speak softly and quickly, to smile easily, and to love music, poetry, soccer, bargaining in the markets, and parties. They are proud of their city, and work hard to keep it clean, stemming from the campaign begun in the 1980s, "Depende tambien de ti, darle amor a Medellín" (It depends on you too to give love to Medellín). The Medellí­n weekend nightlife, in discos, pubs, parks, and certain dedicated streets, is traditionally called rumba.[64]

Today, Medellín has 20 public libraries, 40 museums, 21 public parks and 28 theaters.[65]

Festivals and events[edit]

Silleteros Parade at the Festival of the Flowers, one of the winning silletas in 2007.
  • Festival of the Flowers is held late July to early August. The Festival, plus many other activities and festivities, is the main axis the Desfile de Silleteros, a colorful and artistic parade of flowers filled saddles on the back for their own grower and already well known internationally.
  • International Poetry Festival is an annual congregation of poets, who give at public their poems and readings of a peculiar way mass in parks, auditoriums, neighborhoods and towns near Medellín. This event has been awarded the Right Livelihood Award, the prelude to the Nobel Peace Prize by the Right Livelihood Foundation of Sweden, and its aim is to strive for peace through poethic.[66] The XVII International Poetry Festival of Medellín was performed between July 14 and 22, 2007, with the participation of over 80 poets from around 55 nations.[citation needed]
  • International Tango Festival is an expression of the tango culture that Medellín adopted as their own. This is a legacy of the bard Carlos Gardel, who died in this city in a plane crash in 1935. Among the activities of the Festival highlights the Tangovía, where people took to the streets en masse to dance, listen to tango, milonga and obviously having fun at the behest of culture.
  • 'International Jazz Festival
  • Book Fair - One of the most important cultural events in Medellín[citation needed] Medellín Book Fair is held with the participation of national and international authors and exhibitors from all genres. It is sponsored by the Mayor of Medellín.
  • Feria internacional del caballo. Since 2009 was added to the horse paisa culture the Feria internacional del caballo, held in October, an exhibition truly unique and beautiful to watch with the participation of several countries and varied and fine horse races.[67]
  • Bullfighting Festival of La Macarena, held every year between January and February.

Cultural Broadcasting[edit]

Medellín has a wide offering of cultural radio stations and television broadcasting. Some of the most important are listed below:

  • Camara FM: A radio station sponsored by the Business Chamber of Medellín. It was created in 1982.[68] It is recognized by the emission of alternative music characterized by new exponents of vanguard music style.
  • Emisora Cultural Universidad de Antioquia: A radio station property of the Universidad de Antioquia. It is well recognized by the broadcasting of History of Science, Efemerides and Sonorous Archive programs.
  • UN Radio: A radio Station sponsored by the Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Medellín branch.
  • Radio Bolivariana: A radio station sponsored by the Pontifical Bolivarian University

Radio Bolivariana.

  • Teleantioquia is the most important TV broadcasting channel at regional level. It is sponsored by the Mayoralty of the city. Teleantioquia had been winner of several national prizes by its unbiased performance in press and documentary investigations . Some TV programs emitted on direct such as "Serenata" and "Relatos de Viaje" are recognized to be a representation of the idiosyncrasy of the Antioquenian race.
  • Telemedellin is the local channel of the city with a varied programmation specially dedicated to the cultural and recreational development of the youth.
  • Canal U is a university channel dedicated to the publication of scientific and researching activity in the major universities of the Department.

Several online sites gives a variated offering of cultural and entertainment activities at the city. Among them can be listed:

Medellín Cultura: An institutional online page dedicated to the information of the cultural offering in the city. Available at [3].

Que Rico Medellín (What a Good Medellín): A Tourism and Entertainment guide with one of the most complete schedules of bars, theatres, recreational parks and nightlife in the city. The site is sponsored by the local journal EL COLOMBIANO. Available at: [4].

Museums and other venues[edit]

Medellín has about 40 galleries, which are one of the main attractions of the city.

Some of the main museums are:

Inside the Museum of Antioquia

Museum of Antioquia is the most important museum in Medellín,[citation needed] and one of the best known of Colombia. Was the first founded (1881) in the department of Antioquia, the second in the country. Its collections lie at the heart of Medellín in the old city hall, now transformed in the institution's headquarters, next to Plaza Botero.

Museum of Modern Art of Medellín (MAMM), founded in 1978, has a valuable collection of contemporary art comprising sculptures, assemblages, paintings, photographs, and prints by local and foreign artists. One of its major attractions is the collection of almost all the works of the Antioquian painter Débora Arango. Another of its main attractions is the projection of cinema-art. It is also headquarters of the International Biennale of Video in September.

University Museum, University of Antioquia, was created in 1942, is located in University City. The area of anthropology exhibits a collection of 18 000 pieces of pre-Columbian pottery, stone, shell, metal and textiles, the second richest in the country, and a complete ethnographic collection. The area of visual arts includes contemporary painting and sculpture, and includes 1200 pieces of contemporary artists. The area of History at the university collects in a thousand pieces and documents the 200 years of existence of the University, and the natural sciences section displays 5400 pieces, including native and exotic stuffed animals, skins for study, minerals and fossils.

Museum El Castillo

Museum El Castillo, built in 1930 in medieval Gothic and open to the public in 1971, has French-style gardens, explosions room, library and concert hall for 250 people, exhibit permanently porcelain and glass, stained glass, music, sculpture, piano and ballet.

  • Interactive Museum EPM environment is part of Parque de los Pies Descalzos. Receives 1000 visit a day, mostly students. This is an educational tour of 22 rooms spread over four buildings in which, with technological resources and entertaining way, is explained and interacts with the physical principles of water, energy, gas and telecommunications. It is funded and managed by Empresas Públicas de Medellín.
  • Mineralogy Museum is located in the School of Mines of National University of Colombia. It has a permanent exhibition of a total of 2778 specimens, its collections are recognized by mineralogists and experts among the best museums in South America.
Museum Cemetery San Pedro

Museum Cemetery San Pedro was built in 1842, became a museum in 1998 and declared a National monument in 1999, this place is an integral part of cultural and architectural heritage of Medellín. Although it falls under the category of sculpture and architecture works representing the funerary art, the space has begun to emerge as a new venue for artistic dissemination. There is preserved collections of local and national art and, in full moon nights, there are concerts, shows, storytelling, theater and dance. But undoubtedly the most significant are the funerary monuments in memory of prominent figures in national history.

House Museum Master Pedro Nel Gómez was the home where lived the master Pedro Nel Gómez; became a museum in 1975 with the donation by the artist and his family of the works in it. It currently has 1500 works, 200 square meters of fresco painting and an art library with over 500 volumes.

Casa Museo Gardeliana disseminates the culture and history of the Tango. It was declared a Cultural Heritage and Historic Monument by the Council of Medellín in 2002. Founded on February 14, 1973, by the Argentine Leonardo Nieto Jarbon in the neighborhood Manrique, in a traditional house of simple looking. The famous tango singer Carlos Gardel met his death in Medellín, in accident airplane crash. Since then -and before- exists in the city a deep tango culture. Some plaques testify the visit, to the house, of personalities from politics, entertainment and literature, as the Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges.

Parque Explora is located between the Botanical Garden and the Parque Norte. Although its name suggests otherwise, it is more of an interactive museum, focused on science, technology and many other aspects of knowledge and creativity. It offers visitors an experience of close contact with the cutting edge of science and technology, the universe and outer space, nature and our planet, the human body, biology, ecology, research, creativity and inventiveness and learning by playing, among other factors. Provides, among other attractions, the largest aquarium in South America where it can watch the fishes of the Amazon and Orinoco rivers, with a sample of the Colombian Caribbean and Pacific.

  • Planetarium of Medellín is located in front to Parque de Los Deseos. With telescopes and projection room for 300 people, in its dome 17.5 meters in diameter are permanent exhibitions, for all ages, on our planet and space. Its services include an auditorium, library and a permanent exhibition on space history.

Other prominent museums are: Centro Cultural Banco de la República, Entomological Museum Francisco Luis Gallego, Casa Museo Santa Fe, Museum of Natural Sciences, Ethnographic Museum Miguel Ángel Builes and Museum of the Mother Laura.


Publica Piloto Library.

According to the mayor of Medellín: "The Library Parks are cultural centers for social development that encourage citizen meeting, educational and recreational activities, the construction of a collective approaching to new challenges in digital culture. They are also spaces for cultural services that enable cultural creation and strengthening of existing neighborhood organizations."[69]


In the Metro de Medellín, Colombia, the service began to run in June 22-2006. The system currently has four libraries located in San Antonio, Acevedo, Niquía and Itagüí stations. All these are in the line A of the Metro system. In April, it was celebrated its fifth anniversary. The Bibliometro additionally offers internet access service for free in Bibliometro libraries located in Itagüí, Acevedo and Niquía stations, and Cine Arte service in the Bibliometro of Niquía. To join Bibliometro you must be at least 12 years of age, and be member and/or beneficiary of Comfama or fill out a form. The book loan service is free and the user has right to a library card. The hours of operation are Monday through Friday from 10:00 am to 8:00 pm and Saturdays from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm. The Bibliometro encourages Metro Culture with the program "Palabras Rodantes" (Rolling Words), which is a vote of confidence that the Metro puts on its users, offering in most of the stations small books of Antioquenian authors that can be taken from bookboxes intended for it, with a commitment to return to any bookbox when it has been read and shared. Both managers Comfama (Family Compensation Fund of Antioquia)and the Medellín Metro highlight the great success of these initiatives, which obey the purpose of creating and turning massive the opportunities and reading habits in the young and adult population of the City of Medellín and its metropolitan area.


Medellí­n's best-known and most popular sports clubs are the Atlético Nacional, Envigado F.C. and Independiente Medellín football (soccer) teams. They play at the Atanasio Girardot Stadium. Medellí­n is also known for its two main swim teams, the Calamares Pilsen and the Huracanes. Three-time Tour de France stage winner Santiago Botero Echeverry was born in the city. Retired Formula One, Champ Car, and IndyCar driver Roberto Guerrero is a native. Medellí­n is also the birthplace of professional golfer and PGA Tour player Camilo Villegas.

Sportful centre Atanasio Girardot.

On March 26 and 27 (2011) Medellín hosted the 15th IAAF Pan American Race Walking Cup. Athletes and teams from the countries in North, South and Central American as well as the Caribbean Islands participated. Race walking is an Olympic track & field event.

During August 23–25 (2013) Medellín will Host the IAAF Pan American Junior Track and Field Championships. Athletes and teams from the countries in North, South and Central America as well as the Caribbean Islands will participate. The best Junior aged athletes will compete as a test trial for the 2018 Summer Youth Olympics!

Medellín bid to host the 2018 Summer Youth Olympics but was defeated by Buenos Aires in the July 4, 2013 vote.[70]

Nicknames of the city[edit]

Known as the "industrial capital of Colombia", Medellí­n is also called Ciudad de la Eterna Primavera (City of Everlasting Spring), Capital de la Montaña (Mountain Capital), Ciudad de las Flores (City of Flowers), "Capital de las Orquí­deas" (Orchid Capital), La Bella Villa (the Beautiful Village), Tacita de Plata (Little Silver Cup), and Medallo (a modification of the city's name). also has been named the most innovative city in the world

International relations[edit]

Twin towns – Sister cities[edit]

Medellín is twinned with:

Other forms of cooperation, partnership and city friendship[edit]


See more images of Architecture in Medellín at [74] and [75]


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  3. ^ "City Population America, Colombia, Major Cities and Metropolitan Areas, su sitio web 2012, en idioma inglés". 2011-06-30. Retrieved 2013-03-23. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Milford Bateman, Juan Pablo Duran Ortíz and Kate Maclean 2010. A post-Washington consensus approach to local economic development in Latin America? An example from Medellín, Colombia. London: Overseas Development Institute
  5. ^ GaWC. "The World According to GaWC 2008". Retrieved November 10, 2011. 
  6. ^ a b c "Report on Medellín's Economy by 2005". Proexport Colombia. Retrieved May 8, 2008. "participation of the cities GDP by countries provided by the International Cooperation Agency of Medellín" 
  7. ^ Arturo Wallace BBC Mundo, Colombia (2013-01-01). "Medellín, capital latinoamericana de la innovación - BBC Mundo - Noticias". Retrieved 2013-03-12. 
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