TLDR? Comuna 13 is one of the coolest spots for taking in culture and history in Medellin.
Colombia is famous for many things, including its people, its incredible landscapes, and also for its art at all levels.
Street art is one type of art and one of the most famous places in South America is Comuna 13, located in the city of Medellín.
This neighborhood has become a unique way of art expression and culture that has allowed tourism in the area to grow significantly over the years.
So, are you ready to learn about them? Let’s take a deep dive into one of the coolest spots in Medellin.
What Is Comuna 13, Anyway?
Before we dive into talking about the murals in Comuna 13, let’s take a second to talk about what it is.
After all, there’s not much point in knowing about the art in the area if you don’t know about the sector itself!
Comuna 13 is one of the 16 small boroughs that make up the city of Medellin.
What’s unique about Comuna 13 is that it was actually once a slum. However, thanks to the city’s efforts to improve and redevelop Medellin, this area has transformed from just another “barrio” of the town into one of the most visited tourist sites in the city.
The whole project started when Medellin decided to hire street artists to add murals to the walls of buildings and architecture in this particular neighborhood.
Their work became internationally recognized as an example of a cultural transformation that can change communities.
In fact, the urban renewal of this neighborhood in the city has inspired other cities to invest in street art, too.
For example, if you ever get a chanceto visit Bogotá, you’ll immediately notice that it’s also rich in street art.
Oh, and another fun fact about Comuna 13? They have an outdoor escalator.
Yes, you read that right. There’s a sleek escalator that sits in the middle of the many houses and serves as one of the first urban mobility systems in the world.
What to Expect When You Visit the Murals of the Comuna 13
As I mentioned earlier, Comuna 13 is chock full of murals and street art.
What’s cool about the street art is that it’s full of history, and paints the story of Medellin’s past conflict to its renewal as one of the top startup cities in Colombia.
There are tons of different murals in the sector, which you can check out as part of a free walking tour through the area or just swing by the sector yourself.
If you do choose to take a walking tour, you can expect to spend a couple of hours wandering around the community and checking out work by artists such as senor OK and other famous graffiti artists.
They usually take you to at least ten different murals throughout the town. Some tours actually give you a chance to meet some of the artists who painted these murals, too!
Make sure to bring your camera as there are some really gorgeous murals to snap photos of. Or, if you’d rather just enjoy the tour, you can pick up a coffee table book of the murals and local poems relating to them from one of the neighborhood’s giftshops.
Not only the streets are full of paintings, but there are also some fantastic small galleries of local artists who have become renowned over the years for their talent and unique style.
Here are a couple of my favorite galleries around the area.
Chotas Gallery is the perfect combination of great coffee and art (two of my favorite things!).
The artist featured in this gallery comes from a poor background and worked hard to get to where he is.
It’s a place to learn about how, like Medellin itself, many citizens have risen out of tough situations to become successful community leaders.
There are three different floors in this gallery, so take your time checking out the displays and taking in the art scene in Medellin.