This week, we went a place called Medellín and it is the second biggest city in Colombia. We went to do a tour around the middle of Medellín to learn about its history. Twenty years ago Medellín was known as the most violent city in the world. The man who gave us our tour said when he was little he had ten friends and eight of them got killed. It is hard to imagine thousands of murders every year in a city. There were so many murders that it wasn’t even in the news.
One of the violent things happened one night in 1995. There was a party in a square and one person brought a bag with explosives in and put it under a statue by a very famous artist and it exploded, killing lots of people including a seven year old girl and a ten year old boy. They were very young so I felt sad thinking about it. The person that made the statue was called Botero and he said he would make another one if they did not take the damaged one away because he said if they took it away it would come out of peoples memories. Now there are two bird statues. Here are some pictures of the old one and the new one.
I think you will be able to guess which one is old and which one is new. Botero came from Medellín and we saw his statues everywhere in the squares around the city. He is one of the most famous artists of South America.
Now Medellín is very different from the dangerous times and there are nice museums and parks and squares everywhere. We went to Parque Explora which is a science one and something very strange happened to Oren there!
Also we went up a mountain in a cable car and if we looked down we could see the entire of Medellín. Medellín is in a valley between two mountains and on both mountains there are houses clinging onto the steep slopes and the houses on the mountains look poor.
It used to take hours for the people who lived on the mountain to get to the city but now they have cable cars they can get down and back up quicker and they’re not really tired when they go down and up.
In the cable car we saw a sign that said in Spanish ‘don’t jump or make sudden movements in the cable car’. It had a translation in English but we’ve noticed that often the translations in English are different and quite funny. You can see how they translated it in this photo. The other photo is a cool balcony we saw in the middle of the slum. Can you see the cow head?
As well as the new cable cars there is a metro train. The people of Medellín are very proud of the metro and you can see this as it is very clean with no graffiti but the rest of Medellin has lots of graffiti. Some of the graffiti is messy but some is very nice, here is a picture of a monkey you can see from our window.
At the end of the tour our guide said that Colombians try not to always think about the bad history. He gave an example to say that if someone was sinking in a swamp and they had all the horrible swamp stuff nearly drowning them and then they found a branch and grabbed hold of it and pulled themselves out and then they would celebrate because they nearly died but they didn’t. He said it was like this for Colombians. They had a terrible time in their past but they have survived so they are really happy people. He also thanked us for coming to Colombia and hoped we could tell people that it is now a very nice place in Colombia and it was a long time ago that it was a bad place. I agree that people should come to Colombia because it is a brilliant country.