The History of Medellín’s Laureles Neighborhood

The History of Medellín’s Laureles Neighborhood

TLDR: Laureles was a neighborhood designed for the city’s workers to live in, which was later inhabited by Medellin’s elite class!

The Laureles neighborhood is one of the best areas to stay in Medellín thanks to its great location and surrounding activities and commercial offers. 

Once a working-class neighborhood, Laureles has blossomed into one of the hottest neighborhoods in the City of Eternal Spring! 

Check out this guide to learn a little about the history of Laureles and its transformation into a modern neighborhood. 

How Did Laureles Start?

The First Projects

The First Projects

In its early stages, the neighborhood of Laureles went by a different name. As an area built for the city’s workers to live in, the area was called “The Citadel of the Employee,” based on the English concept of cooperativism. 

Cooperativism sought to distribute wealth in equal parts by grouping proletarians with similar interests and incomes in common together to form an urban complex for workers inspired by the collective. 

The project began in 1939 after the Employees Cooperative of Antioquia acquired vacant land in the La America sector bordering the Cerro Nutibara, where present-day Pueblito Paisa is. 

Pedro Nel Gomez and Luis Fernando Gonzalez began construction of the small working-class neighborhood in Medellin. They planned to build a citadel with meadows, fountains, gardens, parking lots, community pools, a clinic, a school, stores and markets, church, a theater, an administrative building, and even a club. 

Unfortunately, their project was not carried out as planned. 

Change of Plans

Change of Plans

Pedro Nel Gomez abandoned the project a year later in 1940, but traces of his original design still remain today, most notably in the neighborhood’s Parisian-inspired transversal and circular sections, revolving around the UPB. 

It was then that the neighborhood took on the name Los Laureles, thanks to the type of trees abundant in the area. The neighborhood was finally completed by architects and engineers who changed the original design and concept to create spaces for a new social class in the city. 

The elite society of Medellín moved into the formerly working-class neighborhood, and it became one of the most modern places built for large families of its time.  

What Is Laureles Like Now?

What Is Laureles Like Now?

Much of what was built a little less than a century ago is still preserved in Laureles, and the neighborhood is inhabited by many families that have been there since the beginning. 

The neighborhood, known as a “labyrinth” thanks to its transversal and circular roads, has been modernized over the years with the construction of new buildings, and the inclusion of new commerce such as restaurants and tourist destinations. 

Laureles has two parks, Primer Parque de Laureles and Segundo Parque de Laureles, connected to each other by the Avenida Jardin, a street lined with haute cuisine, hotels, boutiques, and supermarkets. 

Another one of the best-known avenues in Laureles is Calle 70. Frequented by tourists, the avenue is home to typical Colombian food, street food stalls, hotels, and nightlife options. 

The neighborhood also has three shopping centers, private and public schools, smaller parks, churches, and well known centers of interest such as: 

  • Unidad Deportiva Atanasio Girardot
  • Estadio Atanasio Girardot
  • Periódico El Mundo
  • Centro de Espectáculos La Macarena
  • Parques del Rio 

Mobility in Laureles

Mobility in Laureles

Located in Medellín’s western central area, Laureles is easy to get around. There are the Exposiciones, Estadio, and Suramericana Metro stations. Additionally, there are several different bus routes that cross into other neighborhoods like La America, Belen, and the city center. 

The neighborhood’s flat streets are perfect for biking. You can rent a free bike from different spots around the neighborhood and cruise down the safe bike paths. 

Touring Laureles on foot is also a great experience. And, there are many green and wooded areas to take a break or set up a picnic. You’ll see many locals doing the same, or walking their dogs through the park. 

Where to Stay in Laureles

Where to Stay in Laureles

Laureles offers the best in experience and lodging, providing everything from cheap hostels to luxury accommodations such as lofts. 

Compared to El Poblado, for example, you’ll find that you can find better, safer lodgings in Laureles. And, you can get them while working with a modest budget. 

Apartments average around $57 USD per night. Or, you can rent per month if you’re staying in the city for a while. 

Visit Laureles and Walk Through Its History

Laureles is a neighborhood with a rich and interesting history, evident in its striking architecture. 

Visit the neighborhood, walk through its streets, and go shopping. Then, wrap your day up with a delicious dinner from one of the best-known gastronomic corridors in the city! 

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