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Barrios in Medellín – Get to know the story of your barrio

View of the buildings of Medellin, Colombia during a sunny day with the mountains in the background
Have you ever wondered about the history of the neighborhoods (barrios) of Medellín?

Why are the names so different and how was their constitution? Today VICO helps you to know more about this city.

Medellín is a city of 2,508,452 inhabitants (2017). They split in 20 institutional areas (universities, parks, etc.), 249 official urban barrios. In turn, it makes a group of sixteen communes (yes, all of us in Medellín belong to a commune ) and also has five corregimientos.

General Info: 

  • Medellín splits into 16 communes. Each of them has a number and a name.
  • Each commune is divided into neighborhoods. For example, Laureles is a neighborhood within the 14 Laureles-Stadium Commune
  • Currently, the largest commune is El Poblado but at the same time it is has the smallest population.
  • The neighborhoods of the Belén commune are known to be named after their commune.

In this first edition we will make a brief recount with important facts about neighborhoods like: Laureles, Poblado, Belén and La Candelaria.


Laureles was born in 1942 initially with three houses. One of them is where the McDonald’s of Nutibara is located today. It was a place for the working class. The first inhabitants wanted a place of ‘poor with the face of the rich’, so they made big houses with good materials and this neighborhood was the ‘City of the Employee’. It belongs to the commune 11: Laureles – Stadium. The main current references are of course the UPB, which according to the POT (Paln de Ordenamiento Territorial :Territorial Planning Plan) does not count as part of the neighborhood but has its own category as an administrative area.

Barrios in Medellín - Get to know the story of your barrio
The Swimmingpools of the “estadio” in Laureles. Source: Life Design TV


Its name is from a shelter of natives in this territory, called “El Poblado de San Lorenzo” (March 2, 1616). A curious fact is that Medellín was founded some time after the conformation of the Town, in 1675, on November 2. It was a “league” away from El Poblado. It belongs to the community 14 that has the same name of the neighborhood: “El Poblado” (now the largest in Medellín).

This neighborhood is today a reference of tourism and innovation in the city`; Indeed,  is counts a large part of hostels, hotels and restaurants. Many people know it mainly by the Lleras Park.

Barrios in Medellín - Get to know the story of your barrio colombiam001
El Poblado. Source: Nomadicmatt

As in the two previous cases, Belén is a neighborhood as well as the name of its commune (the 16). It acquired its current name in 1830 after numerous changes. It happened to be Belén de Otrabanda to only Belén. In 1875, it was the second town of the Aburrá Valley by number of inhabitants and production, especially of sugarcane and fruit trees. It is accompanied in the commune by another 21 neighborhoods. You will easily recognize it because they all identify them with the name of the commune unlike other neighborhoods in Medellín, for example: Belén – Fátima, Belén – Rosales, etc.

Barrios in Medellín - Get to know the story of your barrio 6850080743 4b1f48f4f2 b
The church of the Belén Park. Source: flickr

La Candelaria:

The commune to which it belongs has of course the same name, commune 10 – La Candelaria. This is the heart and base of the city since its beginning. It was created after the population of San Lorenzo failed due to the prohibition of mestizaje with the indigenous of the area. In 1649, the colonizers built the church of La Candelaria in honor of the Virgin of the Candelaria de Tenerife. So she is the one from which the neighborhood got its name.

La Candelaria has a connection with the rest of the city since the heart of Medellín. Indeed, there are a large number of historical sites through which you can get to know the history of Medellín. But above all you have downtown where the majority of the people form the Aburrá Valley conjugates during the day. As a point of reference, we have the San Antonio Metro station.

Barrios in Medellín - Get to know the story of your barrio 6637130829 28dde18b06 b
The Botero-Plaza at the Centre. Photo:
Publicity to find a room in a shared housing in Medellin with VICO

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