Medellin is the second Colombia’s largest city, the capital of the Antioquia Department, founded in the year 1616, 1538 meters above the sea level. In past, it was considered as one of the planet’s most dangerous cities, the city of “sikarios” (teenager bands) and drug trafficking organizations.
However, culture and arts have changed its image a lot, mostly thanks to the world famous Colombian artist and sculptor Fernando Botero. Medellin became the place for “Botero city”, with a 30 thousand sq. m square where a museum, sculpture park, galleries, art studios and recreation zones can be found. According to the sculptor, the main aim of the project is to show the other side of Medellin as the culture and art centre, and not as Escobar’s homeland. According to the artist, the initiator of the “city’s” project was the mayor of Medellin, who suggested creating a new architectural and cultural complex on the basis of the old Antioquia museum. Botero also commented that the museum can compete not only with the best Latin American exhibitions, but also with similar complexes in the other countries.
The city, however, is populated with 3 million of friendly and cheerful people that have the reputation of the real fun-loving artists.
Medellin also offers a lot to see: Basilica de la Candelaria, Basilica Metropolitana (built in the beginning of the XX century, the largest brick church in South America), Pueblito Paisa – the exact copy of a typical local village with numerous handicraft shops, Plaza La Macarena, Plaza Botero, with lots of Fernando Botero’s works displayed there, Museo de Antioquia as well as a university, two stadiums (local football team is the leader in the national championship) and of course well-known Botanical Garden with its famous collection of orchids.
Another thing that marks Medellin the flower centre is the annual Feria De Las Flores – festival of flowers held here in the end of July and in the beginning of August. For two weeks, you can participate in truly festive events, such as various concerts, flower exhibitions, horse and old car parades as well as a beauty contest. To participate in it, people must prepare in advance. Women dress white blouses and black skirts adorned with flowers while men put on national costumes with black hats, take machetes and travel bags. This colourful holiday is opened with a parade of caballeros stalking on their horses through the whole city. Desfíle de Silleteros is the festival’s culmination, when thousands of local people walk along the slopes carrying flowers in their hands, forming a real sea of colourful bouquets and national flowers. Another local well-known event is the International Festival of Poetry that takes place in the middle of June.
As for the region’s nature, it is famous for its Aburrá Valley occupied with the Medellina city districts. The valley has a wonderful climate and warm weather, perfect for summer vacations.