Travel

Medellin, Colombia: The New Christmas Hub Down South

Medellin, Colombia’s second-largest city, is transforming into a tourist destination, a far cry from its dark past.  Several decades back, the city used to be a center for drug manufacture and dealership. And although those are lasting memories, etched forever in the history and memory of the Medellin, the people are united in nurturing the new face of their beloved city.

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Yearly Christmas Spectacle

What once was plagued with drug-related crimes, Medellin shines more brightly than ever with splendid Christmas light systems covering many structures such as churches, buildings and parks. Rainbows of nightlights illuminate the neighborhoods, signaling the rebirth of a city rising from the crisis in the 80s and 90s.

EPM, a state utility company, spearheads the lighting of Medellin each Christmas. New lighting designs can be viewed each year, from December through the second week of January, from 6pm until 1am. This amazing spectacle is free for all. The lights are powered by hydroelectricity, and are found in various areas in Medellin, including 70 North Street, Cerro Nutibara, Carabobo, East Avenue, Junin, La Playa Avenue San Juan and Las Palmas.

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Plaza Mayor of Medellin

The thriving industrial economy of Medellin is instrumental for its transformation. The Plaza Mayor Medellín Conventions and Exhibitions is evidence of the booming economy of the city. Plaza Mayor, which opened in 2006 in the Alpujarra district, is massive with 21 meeting rooms and enough space for up to 3,000 guests. Plaza Mayor houses Colombia’s annual fashion and trade show, the most important fashion event throughout South America every August.

Metro Transport System

The Metro, Medellin’s new transport system, adds to the city’s development and growth. Cable cars hover over the mountains and rooftops, bringing passengers to their desired destination. An electric escalator of more than a thousand feet long, the world’s first, was inaugurated on December 26, 2011 in one of the poorest communities in Medellin.

Nominated as Most Innovative City for 2012

The turnaround of Medellin had not been easy, but slowly they were able to build it into a place that’s not only free from fear, but a place that’s genuinely spectacular to visit. One proof is its nomination as Most Innovative City for 2012, alongside New York and Tel Aviv. Indeed, Medellin has come a long way in its transformation.

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Photos by: MatthewLuz Adriana Villa and Jorge Láscar

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