Medellin is a proud city. The Antioquia region (where Medellin is located) has 300+ years of amazing history, including gold mining, coffee production, and so much more. But people don’t think of that when they think of Medellin. Instead, they remember the past 40 years when the city became plagued with drug cartels and crime, earning its name as the most dangerous city in the world.
Since 2003 through, the city has been undergoing a massive transformation. One of the many great examples of the urban renewal effort can be found at Comuna 13. The city neighborhood located on the steep mountainside used to be the most dangerous neighborhood in the most dangerous city in the world. But through a committed effort from the government, community projects and the people of Comuna 13, the neighborhood is now a safe and beautiful place to live and visit.
To understand the transformation in full, I’ll point you to this Guardian article which goes into much more detail than I ever could from my half day tour.
We took the Graffiti Tour with Toucan Cafe & Tours and had an amazing afternoon. I was amazed by the quality of the work and the stories that they tell. What’s great about this tour is that it is lead by artists from Casa Kolacho, which is a school that teaches local Comuna 13 youth about graffiti, hip hop, DJing and breakdancing. By teaching kids these skills, they show them that there is so much more that they can do with their lives than the set career paths that used to define the area. The money from the tour directly benefits this group.
I hope you enjoy taking a peek into this beautiful neighborhood and are be inspired to see Medellin in a different light.