Medellin is the capital of the Department of Antioch and the second most populous city in Colombia. It is located in the Central Andes at an altitude of 1500 m, 400 km northwest of Bogotá. Medellin was founded in the 17th century. Until recently, it was considered the most criminal city in Colombia and one of the most dangerous cities in the world. In the 80-90s of the 20th century, the country’s largest drug cartel, headed by Pablo Escobar, was located here. In 1993, Pablo Escobar was assassinated, and the city became calmer.
In recent years, Medellin is becoming increasingly popular among tourists: the city is surrounded by majestic mountains and full of parks. Two cable cars pass over Medellin, which are part of the city’s subway. Every year at the end of July and beginning of August, the colorful Festival of Flowers Fieria de Las Flores is held in Medellin. The festival begins with a “caballero” parade, in which several thousand horsemen take part, and ends with a colossal procession of local residents dressed in national costumes, holding flowers. Of the sights of Medellin, one can single out the largest brick church in South America – the Basilica Metropolitana (early 20th century), located on a high hill (from where the whole city is visible) Pueblito Paisa area – a replica of a typical village in the department of Antioch, Plaza Botero, which exhibits numerous works by the world-famous Colombian sculptor Fernando Botero, Museo de Antioca, which also displays the work of Botero, and the Jardin Botanico-Joaquin-Antonio Uribe botanical garden, where you can see a variety of tropical plants, and where an exhibition of orchids opens every August.
In the vicinity of Medellin, it is worth visiting the city of Santa Fe de Antiochia whose buildings are excellent examples of colonial architecture. South of the department of Antioch is the so-called “Coffee Triangle”, where coffee plantations stretch and some of the best coffee in the world is produced. The Coffee Triangle area will appeal to nature lovers: here, in the vicinity of Manizales , one of the best national parks in Colombia, Los Nevados, is located.
According to Physicscat, Popayan is located on the slopes of the Puras volcano in the southern part of the Cordillera Central. Popayan was founded by Sebastian de Belalcazar in 1537 at an altitude of 1737 m. The proximity to the volcano Puras led to the fact that in 1983 the city was significantly destroyed by a powerful earthquake, but the city was restored through the efforts of local residents. Popayan is known as the “White City” and the “City of Presidents”. It was nicknamed the “White City” because of the buildings of the colonial era preserved here, and the “City of Presidents” due to the fact that 17 presidents of Colombia were born here.
The main attractions of Popayana are numerous churches: Iglesia de San Francisco, Iglesia de Santo Domingo, San Agustín, Iglesia de la Ermita, Iglesia de Carmen, Iglesia de Encarnacion, Iglesia de San José, Chapel de Belém and the Cathedral, and museums: the Museum of Colonial Art, the Museum of Religious Art, the Museum of Modern Art and the Museum of Natural History.
44 km east of Popayana lies one of the most picturesque national parks in the country – Puras. There are active volcanoes Puras (4758 m) and Azukar, several extinct volcanoes, on the slopes of which the largest rivers of the country originate – Cauka, Magdalena and Kakieta, several dozen lakes, waterfalls and hot sulfur springs. The park is famous for its hiking trails, which are sure to appeal to lovers of ecotourism.
About 40 km southeast of the Puras National Park in the department of Huila is the village of San Agustín. The village is known for its surrounding archaeological sites, preserved from the ancient Indian civilizations, which are now united in the vast San Agustin Archaeological Park.. The park covers an area of 310 sq. km, on which hundreds of stone sculptures from 20 cm to 7 m high, dating back to the 1st century BC, are scattered. – 8th century AD e. Stone sculptures depict people, gods and animals. Hiking trails are laid between them for the convenience of tourists. In addition to sculptures in the park, you can see the main ritual place of the ancient Indians – the “Source of Ablution” with a ritual pool, and entire burial complexes, which consist of burial mounds, under which stone tombs with sarcophagi are hidden. The walls of the tombs are covered with paintings, and the entrances to the tombs are guarded by stone sculptures. The Archaeological Park has a small museum where you can get up close and personal with the ancient San Agustin civilization and see the pottery and cult objects found here. El Altos de los Idolos, Alto de Lavapatas and La Caquire.
From San Agustin, you can go east to the second most important archaeological zone in Colombia – Tierradentro. The monumental statues and burial complexes discovered here date back to the 6th – 10th centuries AD. The local burial chambers are carved into the rocky foundations. Spiral staircases lead to the crypts, located at a depth of up to 8 m. The walls of the burial chambers are painted with drawings. A museum has been opened in Tierradentro, where you can see samples of funerary urns, pottery and jewelry found at the excavation site.