The former world capital of cocaine has undergone an amazing transformation in recent years.
Medellín owes its metamorphosis to innovative urban planning whose construction and infrastructure projects are not only of a representative nature.
In addition to schools, hospitals and parks, these projects also include the Metrocable cable car system, which, similar to the one in La Paz in Bolivia, better integrates the poorer neighborhoods into the city.
The cable car system is connected to the Medellín Metro, a rapid transit system, which cuts through the center as a north-south axis parallel to the Medellín River.
It is also the best way for tourists to explore Medellín on their own.
Medellín’s traditional sights are grouped in the “Centro” district of La Candelaria: the Plazoleta de Esculturas, also known as Plaza Botero, is home to numerous sculptures by the eponymous Colombian painter and sculptor.
The mighty building of the Museo de Antioquia also houses pre-Columbian and colonial artefacts, numerous works by Fernando Botero and his private art collection.
The east side of Plaza Botero is occupied by the Palacio de la Cultura Rafael Uribe Uribe, a building more reminiscent of a neo-Gothic church. Its complicated black-and-white construction was designed by the Belgian architect Agustin Goovaerts, who designed the building in 1925 as the seat of the government of Antioquia.Just a few blocks northeast of Plaza Botero you will find the (by day) lively Parque Bolívar with the brick cathedral of the city on its north side.
The Carrera Junín begins on the south side of the square, used to be the most important shopping street in the city and was converted into a pedestrian zone a few years ago.
At the height of the drug war, citizens withdrew from the city centre and settled in Poblado, the city’s most prosperous district to date.
Here, in the south of the city centre, you will find the best hotels, restaurants and shopping facilities for the residents of the high-rise apartment buildings lining up on the east side of the Valle de Aburrá.
Medellín’s famous nightlife also has one of its epicenters here in Parque Lleras.
With the MAMM, the Museo de Arte Moderno, which recently received a new extension, Poblado also houses one of the most interesting museums of its kind in the country.
Not to be missed is the Casa de la Memoria, an interactive museum and “house of remembrance”, which tells the story of violence and counter-violence and serves as the city’s collective memory.
The Pablo Escobar tourism, on the other hand, is questionable at best. Tour operators lead groups of visitors to scenes in the life of the infamous drug boss and transfigure him into a hero.