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Most people come to Medellin and spend time in either the Poblado or Laureles neighborhood. There’s nothing wrong with that, since these places amount to being the artistic and cultural centerpieces of the city!
That being said, downtown Medellin is surely due to blowing up to some degree or another. It’s already full of cultural institutions that serve the citizens of Medellin.
They function as community centers for this thriving Latin American hub!
This sense of community and pride is on display nowhere better than at the COMFAMA education center downtown.
Here’s a summary of all the things you might want to know if you’re planning on making a trip out there!
COMFAMA San Ignacio is about as downtown in downtown Medellin as one can get. It lies just steps away from some of the major cultural institutions that you might be planning on visiting anyways.
If you’re coming from Laureles, you can take the B line over to the San Antonio stop and walk a bit. You could also take the T-A extension to the Pabellon de Agua stop for a closer stopping-off point.
If you’re headed up from Poblado or a close-by neighborhood, you can shoot up the A-line to the same San Antonio stop.
Once you’re in the area, you’ll be heading towards a plaza complex that has several different building edifices within.
The building has some fairly classic-looking colonial designs that help it to stick out from the crowd.
COMFAMA Claustro San Ignacio is a community and cultural center that lies in the heart of downtown Medellin. It’s very cool since it’s built in an old nun cloister!
It provides several services to the citizens of Medellin and acts as an educational center and gathering place for people. It’s especially attractive to those who want to have access to certain kinds of cultural resources.
In some ways, it’s a bit difficult to pin down exactly what Comfama San Ignacio is because it has so many functions.
It’s altogether a very multi-faceted place, filled with various rooms that serve a variety of different functions.
The complex is supported by COMFAMA, which is a national institution. It serves to provide educational and cultural services to the citizens of Colombia.
After doing some research, I learned specifically that the COMFAMA organization is a family equalization fund in Colombia. It aims provides health, education, and recreation benefits to families who are a member.
There are many COMFAMA projects across the country if you find yourself interested in their larger efforts. You can find a bit more information on all of that over here.
In many ways, Comfama San Ignacio could act as one of the symbols for the new image of Medellin that has begun to be cultivated in the last few years.
The center has dozens of things going on. It acts as a multi-functional educational and gathering place with tons of different functions.
There are art classes to take at the center, and I witnessed people doing figure drawing classes and learning how to paint. It was altogether quite inspiring!
The space is quite classy and beautiful, and the whole complex has multiple floors, built into an old castle-like colonial complex.
The antiquated appearance of the host building is combined with some of the more progressive things happening at the center. It makes for a cool juxtaposition that I appreciated quite a bit.
The complex also houses some exhibits showcasing some of the archaeological and anthropological history surrounding Medellin. You can gander these at your leisure as you stroll about the other rooms.
In the plaza outside, there’s a café that has a little micro-coworking space and library which makes for great people watching.
It can also make for some good studying or working if you’re willing to work through some of the hustle and bustle of the busy downtown Medellin plaza!
Another great thing about Comfama San Ignacio is that visit brings you close to many of downtown Medellin’s other sights and sounds to check out.
It’s within walking distance of a couple of other similar cultural institutions in Medellin. This includes places such as the Palacio de Bellas Artes, and the Pablo Ubon Theatre.
You can check out the article I wrote about Palacio de Bellas Artes over in this section of the blog!
It’s also not far from several of the administrative and government centers of the city. Some of these have public art pieces and other things of historical and cultural value.
This includes some of the city’s most well-known art pieces, such as La Monumenta de La Raza, which I wrote about in this section of the blog.
You could also head over to the Plaza de Botero without much effort. This would find you able to quickly pop in to either the Palacio de Cultura Rafael Uribe Uribe, check out the great fine art that’s housed in the Museo de Antioquia.
All of these attractions would be just a 10-15 walk from the COMFAMA center at most, so I wouldn’t hesitate to fit them into an existing downtown itinerary.
The COMFAMA San Ignacio is completely open to the public. So, it’s worth heading down there if only to check out some of the inspiring things happening there at any given moment.
There are also several patio tables in a very cool opening courtyard within the complex, as well as a couple of libraries. So there’s always some kind of space that should be available if you choose to do some work or study down there.
I found it quite inspiring to have such a beautiful building completely open to the public. It has great programs, classes, and spaces available to anyone interested.
This availability helps to showcase some of the generous social programs that are alive and well in Medellin, as well as in Colombia in general.
It’s a country with its eyes to the future, and it’s taking everyone who’s interested with it.
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