The city center of Medellín has a lot to keep a visitor busy for a day or two. The heart of Medellín is situated around Parque Berrío. This park, built around a statue of Pedro Justo Berrío, is full of street vendors and is a great place to people watch.
One side has a fountain and one of Fernando Botero’s most famous works, La Gorda.
On another side sits the Basílica de la Candelaria. It was built in the 1770s and is the most important church in Medellín. It was under renovation during my visit.
On the other side of the metro tracks to the north is Plazoleta Nutibara, with lots of palm trees and more street vendors. Under the metro station, you’ll find an interesting fresco. It tells a progressive story from one end to the other about Antioquia.
The beautiful building on Plazoleta Nutibara is Palacio de la Cultura Rafael Uribe Uribe, built in 1927. It was originally the Antioquia government building.
Continuing around the building is Plaza Botero, full of sculptures by the artist. Opposite is the Museo de Antioquia. It’s the 2nd oldest museum in Colombia and worth a visit. It features several works of art, including many important paintings and sculptures by Botero.
Parque de Bolívar is a short walk northeast of Parque Berrío. It did not seem like the safest area to be in. I would watch your belongings.
Catedral Metropolitana, built between 1875 and 1931, sits at the north end of the park. Supposedly it’s the largest cathedral in South America and the third largest brick building in the world. If you want to visit, it’s best to go in the morning. It’s not usually open in the afternoon.
A few blocks south is Parque San Antonio, a wide open space with a few sculptures. One of them is dedicated to 29 people who were killed by a bomb in the park on 10 June, 1995. It’s the remains of a Fernando Botero sculpture of a bird. The bomb was hidden inside the sculpture. Nearby is the Iglesia de San Antonio, built in 1902.