If you enjoy places where you can appreciate patrimonial architecture, Santa Fe de Antioquia is an excellent option, just 79 Kilometers (50 miles) from Medellin.
This municipality is located in the western sub-region of Antioquia and was the department’s capital for more than 200 years. There you’ll find a Historical Center with various architectural manifestations ranging from colonial to current. Nevertheless, its constructions are characterized by the presence of ledges, door- and window frames which reflect the hierarchy of the buildings and its inhabitants. Also, it is important to point out the important value of the religious architectural legacy, directly associated to the municipality’s present customs.
Its warm climate of 27°C (81ºF) average and well-preserved colonial buildings has turned this town into a landmark for travelers from all regions.
The magic of this place is strongly represented in the cobbled streets, white walls and tall doors, as testimony of the time when settlers and slaves lived in this town, founded in 1541.
Hundreds of tourists visit Western Antioquia on weekends and holidays. Currently, the route from Medellin has the Fernando Gómez Martínez Western tunnel—built in early 2006—that has significantly reduced travel time.
Get to know Santa Fe de Antioquia: a town full of history, summer weather all year round and charm that make it one of the most interesting and welcoming places in the region.
Main Square or Plaza Mayor
The cobbled streets and well-preserved colonial architecture make the main square of Santa Fe de Antioquia one of the best preserved historic parks in the country. There you will be delighted by the appearance of the old facades, visit craft shops, pubs, clubs and restaurants.
Metropolitan Cathedral: Renaissance Architecture
Visit this majestic place built between 1797 and 1837 to honor the Immaculate Conception, patroness of the locals. It is 47m (154ft) in height, and there is jewelry inside its tower and an art gallery in the vestry. The majesty of its Spanish renaissance architecture has been recognized by national and international experts.
Some residents say the building had several underground tunnels to connect with other churches.
West Suspension Bridge
It is one of the most representative and popular places across the region and crosses one of the country's major rivers, the Cauca. Construction began in 1887 and open to traffic in 1895.
With a length of 291m (955ft) at the time of its construction, it was the longest suspension bridge in the world.
It was declared a National Monument and it is considered the nineteenth century’s masterpiece of local engineering. Its designer and builder Jose Maria Villa is one of the most recognized engineers in Antioquia of his era.
Visit this touristic site by private car or *mototaxi just 5 kilometers (3 miles) from the main square of Santa Fe de Antioquia and challenge yourself to cross the Cauca with a dose of excitement.
Town Hall Juan Antonio Mon y Velarde
This building was constructed in 1787 and has great historical value because in it, the Declaration of Independence of the Province of Antioquia was signed in 1813. Visit this two-story house that has been well-preserved through the years and is where the Mayor’s Office currently operates.
Ship The Pioneer
In this vessel for 60 people, you can sail to the rhythm of the Cauca river and observe the West Bridge from below.
To board this ship, head to the base of the bridge; it provides scheduled transportation services during the weekends or it can be rented in weekdays for group tours.
It is the oldest traditional festival in Antioquia, held every December since 1653, highlighting events such as the floats parade, *becerradas * and dances.
It also has an interesting historical component as it dates back to the festivities of the colonial slaves who disguised and danced around to the Candanga and Bundes rhythms.
This is considered one of the most popular religious celebrations in the country. Its fame lies in the strong Catholic tradition in this town and in the quality and quantity of Quito’s art figures that are carried on the shoulders of the most recognized locals.
Be part of these events, where each year thousands of tourists and locals meet with fervor to commemorate the life, passion and death of Jesus Christ.
Santa Fe de Antioquia Film Festival
Every year, this festival attracts hundreds of people from across the country; activities such as outdoor screenings of films, short films and documentaries are carried out. It began for the first time in 2000 and it preserves a fundamental idea: the creation of a thematically festival.
Each year a central theme is defined and from there, audiovisual material is projected.
In addition, you will see productions by young directors and conferences with national and international actors, all these within the distinctive architecture and atmosphere of Santa Fe de Antioquia. Attendance to projections and academic events is free. Enjoy it the second weekend of December.
The Park Chinca
This place is named for hosting the church of Our Lady of Chiquinquirá, known by locals as "The Chinca", a landmark that attracts visitors and locals daily. There, you can also find the Archbishop's Palace and the Hotel Mariscal Robledo, characterized by a colonial-style architectural and the condition of the structure.
Enjoy a space featuring has green areas, bars and restaurants which also offers dining and recreation alternatives. There are also outdoor film screenings among other cultural events.
Church of Our Lady of Chiquinquirá
Explore this place built between 1863 and 1868 and appreciate its neoclassical style with baroque details. Before, The Martyrs' Shrine had risen there, which is a temple built in 1650 that further enriches all the historical essence of the site.
House of the 2 palms
While moving within its walls, you can re-live the book by Manuel Mejía Vallejo and the Antioquian soap opera from the early 90s of the same name. Besides that, get to know the historical component as it was owned by the dictator Juan del Corral, who proclaimed the absolute independence of the province of Antioquia.
Its name comes from the book of writer Manuel Mejía Vallejo.
You can get to on horseback through the Tounusco River’s bank or by mototaxi. The house is on the Juan Blanco Ranch, El Espinal, 7 km (4.5 miles) from the city center.
Juan del Corral Museum
This museum works in an antique colonial style house. Inside you will find the table where Juan del Corral, a widely recognized figure of that era, signed the Act of Independence of Antioquia in 1813.
Also, you can see the charm of some china and objects from the colonial times’ everyday life, and an archaeological sample of indigenous groups who inhabited this area of western Antioquia.
Santa Barbara Church
Cloak yourself in the typical Baroque style of this place, built out of bricks, stone and mortar. Its construction dates back to 1728, making it the oldest standing temple in the town.
Julio Vives Guerra, the town poet, called it "The Grandmother of the churches in the province of Antioquia", a name that still remains among the locals.
It’s located just two blocks from the main park.
San Juan Nepomuceno de Obregon Chapel
It was built in 1805 and its architecture reflects the Spanish neoclassical style. It is located in the rural area of Obregón, 4 km (2.5 miles) from the historic center of the municipality.
Visit this chapel, one of seven private churches in the country and the only one with this style in Antioquia.
*Becerrada: similar to a bull fight but with a much younger bull. The idea is not to kill the animal but for participants to avoid its charges.
*mototaxi: three-wheel motorcycle with a covered bench for 3 people on its back axis. As its name suggests, it that provides taxi service.