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Medellin, like much of Latin America, has some great examples of beautiful colonial architecture within its boundaries.
This is oftentimes especially true of the downtown area, which hosts much of the historical architecture in the city.
When you’re talking about colonial architecture, much of the time you’ve got to be talking about the churches and cathedrals that adorn places like this.
They’re oftentimes the structures where the most care and thought have been put into their construction!
One of my favorite churches in the downtown Medellin area is called Parroquia San Jose. What follows is a bit of information on it if you’re interested in visiting!
Parroquia San Jose is in the heart of downtown Medellin, so it’s quite accessible by public transportation.
Taking the B line to the San Antonio stop will land you quite close, after which you just walk the rest of the way. You can get even closer by heading to the Pabellon de Agua stop on the T-A extension.
Taking the A line to the same stop is always an option too if you’re coming up from Poblado.
Taking a cab or a car would also work, but be forewarned about the density of foot traffic and car traffic in downtown Medellin at certain times of days.
The Parroquia is in a particularly dense area of activity. So, if you decide to take a car you might want to order it to a place that’s a bit out of the mayhem anyways.
Parroquia San Jose is a Catholic church. It stands where other Catholic places of worship have existed for several centuries.
According to some online research I did, a Christian edifice has existed on the grounds where Parroquia San Jose stands since about 1720. That’s a long time!
The church as it appears and is named right now was completed in about 1850. Its construction was ordered by a catholic archbishop by the name of Juan de La Cruz Gomez Plata.
Nowadays, Parroquia San Jose is recognized as one of the historical sights to see in the central Medellin district. Its icon pops up on tourism maps commissioned by the city.
Once you see the building for yourself, you’ll understand why, as the church features beautiful architecture both within and without. It complements the contours of downtown Medellin quite nicely.
Parroquia San Jose is a stately medium-sized chapel made entirely out of bricks that take on a pleasing hew.
The church sits atop a small plaza in downtown Medellin. It nicely intermixes stately colonial architecture with some of the modern aesthetics of the many shops that surround it.
Being that it’s in one of the busiest parts of downtown Medellin, the church almost appears like a little oasis amidst all of the hubbubs.
Once inside, the chapel is quaint yet beautiful and has a number of charming and well-crafted decorations. These depict the various sacred scenes of Christianity.
The interior is additionally notable because much of it is painted white. This contrasts heavily with the more demure exterior of the building.
Although not as large as some of the other churches in Medellin, Parroquia San Jose is quite sizeable. This is especially considering that it’s sandwiched in between a bunch of other buildings in the cramped downtown area.
The Parroquia is a great place to visit if you’re a fan of some of the themes and scenes of classic spiritual art. This is since the church displays many of these parables in both sculptures and painted forms.
There are all the familiar characters: Jesus, Mary, and the Holy Ghost. There’s a particularly nice statue of the Archangel Michael that I found to be exquisitely done.
The church does well what I consider to be one of the accessory functions of churches and religion in general: it acts as a great vehicle for art!
If you’re not particularly spiritual, I would consider the church still to be a nice stop-off point. This is due to its attractive interior design and peaceful vibes.
It wouldn’t be a bad place to sit and read for a while, or even take your laptop and do a bit of work. This is as long as you keep noise levels and the like respectful for the pious.
If you’re planning a trip to Parroquia San Jose, you’ll find yourself within earshot of several other notable Medellin attractions.
Paramount to these would have to be the Plaza Botero, which houses some of the city’s most famous artworks and cultural institutions. This includes the Museo de Antioquia.
If you’re interested in reading about the Museo de Antioquia, you can read more about it on this part of the blog.
Parroquia San Jose is also quite close to many of the main venues of the downtown Medellin arts and theatre district, which I wrote about in this post.
It’s also not far from the Palacio de Bellas Artes, which is another great Medellin building. It marries great architecture with a sense of service to the Medellin public.
And of course, if you’re in the downtown district, you’ll inevitably find yourself surrounded by dozens of bars and restaurants. You’ll never want a place to plop down and sip an espresso!
Medellin has a rich and fascinating history that’s evolving rapidly even as I type. It’s a city amid an evolution!
Still, even while one year for progress, it’s important to keep around the pieces of the past that are worth preserving.
I don’t think there’s any worry that a historical church like Parroquia San Jose would get lost in the waves of development hitting the city at the moment.
Especially given that religious institutions have special privileges with their property rights. And, they oftentimes serve essential community functions.
But still, considering its fantastic architecture and brilliant displays of art, it would probably cut either way!
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