Medellin Parks and Churches

Medellin Parks and Churches, Medellin, Colombia (A)

Medellin Parks and Churches guide takes in four churches, four parks, one museum and one set of murals, all in the center of Medellin, the stunning capital of Antioquia. The walk takes about 90 minutes to complete and passes through some of the main shopping areas of Medellin. Medellin, Park, Church, Museum, Mural, City Center, Walk, Walking tour, Antioquia, Colombia
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Walk Route

Guide Name: Medellin Parks and Churches
Guide Location: Colombia » Medellin
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Article (A))
# of Attractions: 10
Tour Duration: 2.0 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.7 Km or 1.7 Miles
Author: Richard Weiss
Author Bio: British male, late forties, living in Latin America, loves travelling and speaking Spanish, old churches and city parks
Author Website:
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Catedral Metropolitana
  • Parque de Bolivia
  • Parque de los Periodistas
  • Iglesia de San Jose
  • Basilica de la Candelaria
  • Parque Berrio
  • Murals of Pedro Nel Gomez
  • Plaza de las Esculturas
  • Museo de Antioquia
  • Ermita de la Veracruz
Catedral Metropolitana

1) Catedral Metropolitana

With the foundations set in place in 1868 this cathedral, also known as the Villanueva Cathedral, was finished in 1883 and dedicated to the Virgin Mary. In 1948 Pope Pius XII conceded Basilica status to the building. It was designed by a French architect, Charles Émile Carré (1863-1909), in a neo-Romantic style. On March 12, 1982, it was officially declared as a National Monument of Colombia. The building itself is over 90 meters in height while over a million red bricks were used in its construction, visible in both the interior walls and the entire exterior of the building.
Parque de Bolivia

2) Parque de Bolivia

The Bolivia Park faces the Cathedral. It was founded in 1892 and contains a tiny lake in which a dozen little water fountains are located. The other central theme in the park is the 1923 statue of Simon Bolivar (1783-1830), the General who founded Colombia, sitting grandly on a horse. It was created by Italian sculptor Giovanni Anderlini. This grand park also contains a beautiful collection demonstrating many of the native trees of Colombia.
Parque de los Periodistas

3) Parque de los Periodistas

This tiny park, dedicated to journalists, who traditionally frequented the park (periodista is Spanish for journalist) and also known as El Guanábano, is full of some splendid and very well tended trees. The park also has a number of charming metal sculptures, all illustrating Colombian people. Most are to be found under a metal podium, though there is also a boy sitting on one of the benches, made of the same metal. On the other side of the park there is a statue of the head of Manuel del Socorro Rodríguez (1758-1819) the founder of journalism in Colombia. There is also a 1959 monument to the victims of violence.
Iglesia de San Jose

4) Iglesia de San Jose

This very simple red brick church has beautiful white interior walls and ceiling and a lovely, beautifully patterned tiled floor. It has some plain but gorgeous white, red and blue stained glass windows, which amplify the whole sense of simplicity which marks this modest church. It is open every day with the first mass taking place at 6:30AM and the last one at 6:00PM. Since 1720 there was a capillary here dedicated to Saint Lorenzo but in 1847 the site was cleared and the present building was then started though due to the expulsion of the Jesuits from Colombia it was not finished until 1890.
Basilica de la Candelaria

5) Basilica de la Candelaria

Also known as "Nuestra Senora de La Candelaria" this Basilica is visible from a narrow street where there are a number of market stalls selling books and similar items. The interior of the building is painted white with a lovely black, white and grey patterned tiled floor. Wooden supports criss-cross the white ceiling. The church was inaugurated in 1776 and the architect was Jose Baron de Chaves. Its height is 31.2 meters and its total area is 1950 metres2. Since 1993 a restoration program has been in progress.
Parque Berrio

6) Parque Berrio

This park is named after the famous 19th Century Colombian politician Pedro Justo Berrio and there is a statue of him which faces onto the Basilica de La Candelaria. In the 19th Century the public market was located here. After three big fires here in 1917, 1921 and 1922 the area around the park became the financial center of Medellin, the banks bringing with them more modern fire resistant buildings. There is also a sculpture here by Fernando Botero on the south west of the park called La Gorda (The Fat Woman). Another sculpture also found here is called El Desafio (The Challenge) by sculptor Rodrigo Arenas Betancourt.
Murals of Pedro Nel Gomez

7) Murals of Pedro Nel Gomez

Local artist Pedro Nel Gomez (1899-1984) left these two murals, which he painted in 1956, and which contain twenty separate pictures. Since 1997 they face each other on a road coming out from Parque Berrio. They are behind protected glass but are still very much worth seeing. They contain drawings of the history of the people of Antioquia, the state of Colombia which contains Medellin. They include illustrations of pre Columbian times, of the arrival of the Spaniards, and then of the industrial revolution as it effected this part of Colombia and the people who lived through it.
Plaza de las Esculturas

8) Plaza de las Esculturas

This very large plaza (7500m2), also known as Botero Plaza, was founded in 2002 and contains 23 enormous bronze sculptures, which have been described as being like a museum outdoors, scattered as they are all over the plaza. They include some of obviouly native Indian people and some of animals. They were made by the contemporary sculptor Fernando Botero Angulo, born in 1922. There is also an attractive garden here and this park is considered a must in any tour of the center of Medellin. There is also a splendid building to the side of the Plaza, which is well worth admiring for its stunning beauty.
Museo de Antioquia

9) Museo de Antioquia

This museum was founded in 1881 and was originally known as the Museo de Zea in honor of Francisco Zea. Since that time it has been the most important museum in Medellin though it was closed for a while to make way for the construction of the Palacio Rafael Uribe Uribe and was only reopened again after a campaign was begun to re-open it in 1946. The Museum only moved to its present site in 1955, but here it was able to become firmly established, helped by having had special protection from the Colombian state since 1953. The building itself was constructed between 1932 and 1937 and designed by architect Martín Rodríguez.
Ermita de la Veracruz

10) Ermita de la Veracruz

This church, often known as Ermita de la Veracruz de los Forasteros, has both a white exterior and a white interior. It is a compact and small church though certainly no less worth visiting for this. The original building was begun in 1682, with construction finishing in 1712. Facing ruin the building had to be demolished in 1791, with the construction of a new building beginning the same year and finishing in 1803. The new building was formally blessed on March 26, 1809. The Ermita had a turbulent 19th century history, during which time it was the second most important church in Medellin after the Cathedral. It underwent restoration between 1968 and 1976 and was declared a Cultural Patrimony of Colombia in 1982.