TLDR? You can expect to see 2,760 religious pieces with different histories and purposes depending on their places of origin.
You might expect that the largest collection of Christ and crosses in the world belongs to a museum in Italy or even Jerusalem, but it’s actually located at the Museum of the Crosses, in a small Antioquian town only an hour away from Medellin.
Museums like the Museum of Crosses aren’t just for the religious: they’re for anyone who enjoys learning about art and history.
In this article, I’ll fill you in on what to expect from the famous Museum of Crosses in Marinilla, another surprising corner of Antioquia.
Where Is Marinilla?
Located only an hour from Medellin, Marinilla to head to during the day and still be able to make it back to the city at night.
You’ll find a unique combination of history and fun in this wonderful little tourist town.
There are a number of different ways to travel to Marinilla. You’re coming from Medellin, a city with one of the best transportation systems in Colombia, so don’t worry! You’re in for an easy journey, whether you decide to take the bus, metro, car, or taxi.
Take a Bus to Marinilla
Taking the bus is my favorite option to get out of the city and gain some more backpacker experience. It’s also the cheapest, and you’ll be able to find comfortable buses easily accessible from the Medellin terminal.
To get to Marinilla, go to the north terminal of the city, and look for the two routes that’ll take you to Marinilla’s terminal.
If you decide to take the bus, I recommend taking advantage of the transport companies’ website in order to purchase tickets in advance and choose a time that best suits your schedule.
Hire a Taxi
You can always take a taxi from anywhere in the city if you’re not a fan of public transport. I suggest choosing a taxi company with established rates so you’ll know on average how much the journey will cost.
Travel in Your Own Car
If you’ve already rented a car, then you’re all set! Fill up your tank and follow the directions to Marinilla. There will be a road toll, so keep that in mind.
Traveling by car is the most comfortable option, and the easiest way to get to Marinilla and return to Medellin on the same day.
History of the Museum
El Museo de las Cruces is currently located in Marinilla’s House of Culture, one of the many beautiful buildings in town.
The museum is named after Roberto Hoyos Castaño, a collector who donated his assemblage of crosses in 2005, as a legacy to his hometown.
Castaño’s collection took over 30 years and many trips around the world. A religious man, cross collecting became a way for him to express his faith, though his collection includes crosses given to him by friends.
Within this collection of pieces, not all were made for beneficial or religious use, as expected, these types of symbols are used to create negative effects according to different cultures.
The Museum of Crosses is home to crosses from across the world, such as Germany, Egypt, the United States, Israel, and Switzerland, to name a few.
What to Expect
As a Catholic, I was familiar with the significance of the cross in the story of Jesus’s crucifixion, but the Museum of the Crosses helped further expand my knowledge.
There are some distinctions between the cross and the crucifix: the cross is an ancient symbol that predates Christianity and is not necessarily religious, while the crucifix is the image of Jesus upon the cross during his crucifixion.
I learned a lot from the 2,760 pieces at the museum of varying shapes and sizes. Each cross had its own story of origin, from where it was made to how it’s used in worship and tradition.
Even as a Catholic, I’d never seen so many crosses together in one place. Even if you’re not very religious, I still recommend going to the Museum of the Crosses for its artistic and historical value. I had a great time trying to find the cross I liked best among the varying shapes, sizes, and colors.
This is the largest collection in the world, so I took my time admiring each piece. There are fascinating Greek, artisan, and Latin pieces made with so much creativity.
If you’re a fan of horror movies, keep an eye out for the only cross with which exorcisms can be performed!
The museum is quiet and well cared for by managers ready to supply you with any information you might need. You can even donate a piece if it’s one not already represented in the museum.
Enjoy a museum day in Marinilla
Even if you’re not religious, you can enjoy a museum like the Museum of Crosses in Marinilla: all you need is a taste for art and an appreciation for history.
So if you’re in Medellin, there’s no excuse not to visit!
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