Medellín sure has come a long way, hasn’t it? The city is said to have the most friendly and hospitable people in the country, but there’s so much more to the City of Eternal Spring than that.
The changes Medellín has faced in such a short time are admirable, and its sketchy past make the evolution of this city even more impressive and exciting. I’m not going to bang on about what Medellín was like in the ’80s and early ’90s – how dangerous it was – because we already know all that. And if we don’t know, we can visit almost any other site about Medellín to find out.
You’ve probably heard enough about that anyway, I know I have. What we haven’t heard enough about is what is happening in Medellín now.
From art to infrastructure and fashion to nightlife, Medellin is moving forward and at such a fast pace that we can hardly keep up.
But people are taking notice; Medellín was even recognised as the world’s most innovative city, beating the likes of Tel Aviv and New York!
OK Medellín, you’ve got our attention. So, what’s going on in this Paisa city and why is it such an innovative, loveable and exciting place to live and travel through?
1. Infrastructure and development
Medellín has the best transportation in the country. There, I said it. They don’t just transport people, they connect people. And I’m not just talking about connecting people from one side of the city to the other. Transportation in Medellín bridges the gap between the haves and the have-nots. It connects people from different barrios and gives those who live high in the mountains the opportunity to travel into the centre of town quickly and safely. The transport is diverse; there’s the Metro, Metrocable, the bus system called the MetroPlus, a 28-story high escalator which allows residents to safely travel down a steep hillside and there are even bike-share programs. They haven’t just got the public transport right either, they have invested in more than 1.6 million square metres of new public space, too. It’s all about connection – this is truly a city of growth and transformation.
As well as transportation in Medellín, there is a new emphasis on education. The city’s utilities company Empresas Publicas de Medellín (EPM) support a whole variety of community developments with a backing of education programs at the forefront of it all. There’s also been the construction of the España Library, which is part of a series of urban projects. It’s built in Santo Domingo, one of the barrios that was most affected by the violence in the ’80s.
Each year Medellín puts it’s textile and fashion industry on show and hosts South America’s largest fashion industry event called ColombiaModa. And I don’t mean to name drop but the likes of Vogue and Prada are just some of the brands that attend. Each year thousands of buyers, retailers, designers and other industry folk strut through their doors.
There is no shortage of festivals in Medellín. Of course there’s the Flower Festival but there’s also the Medellín Food Festival, the Poetry Festival, The Festival of Christmas Lights and the Medellín Film Festival. No matter what time of year you’re in Medellín, there’s bound to be a festival, a party or an event going on.
Medellín was once a city tainted by it’s violent past but with the changes the city has seen in such a short time it seems other big cities, within Colombia and around the world, have a lot to learn from the Paisas.
Have you been to Medellín? What do you think about the City of Eternal Spring? Let me know, I’d love to hear about it.