La Comuna 13
Comuna 13, once known as one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Medellin, Colombia, has transformed into a hub of vibrant street art and a symbol of resilience and hope.
One of the best ways to explore this fascinating area is through a solo walking tour, which allows you to immerse yourself in this neighborhood’s rich history, culture, and incredible art at your own pace.
History of Comuna 13
Comuna 13, also known as San Javier, is located on the west side of Medellin and was once notorious for its high levels of violence and crime.
However, the neighborhood has significantly transformed in recent years thanks to a government-led initiative called “Medellin, the most educated.”
The initiative aimed to promote education and culture in the city’s poorer neighborhoods. Comuna 13 was one of the primary beneficiaries.
The neighborhood is home to a diverse community of residents, including Afro-Colombians, indigenous people, and immigrants. However, many of the residents have been displaced from other parts of the country due to armed conflict, and the government has historically neglected the area.
Graffiti in Comuna 13
One of the most striking features of Comuna 13 is the street art and graffiti that covers many of the neighborhood’s walls and buildings.
The art reflects the community’s resilience and creativity and has played a significant role in the neighborhood’s transformation.
The graffiti in Comuna 13 often depicts political and social messages, including calls for peace and unity, and highlights the neighborhood’s diverse cultural heritage. Many artists who create the art are local residents, and their work reflects the struggles and triumphs of the community.
Walking Tour of Comuna 13
A solo walking tour of Comuna 13 is an excellent way to explore the neighborhood’s history and art. The tour can be self-guided or hire a local guide to provide additional context and insights.
The tour typically starts at the San Javier metro station, where you can take a bus to the first set of escalators.
The escalators were built as part of the government’s initiative to improve access to the community. As a result, they have made the area attractive to tourists. Which now fuels the local economy.
From there, you can explore the neighborhood’s streets and alleys, taking in the vibrant street art and the unique architecture.
The area also has several community centers and cultural spaces worth visiting to understand the neighborhood’s rich cultural heritage.
One of the tour’s highlights is the “Electric Stairs,” a series of brightly colored steps that lead to a viewpoint overlooking the city. The stairs are adorned with graffiti and street art, providing a perfect photo backdrop.
All though you are advised against it, you can still walk the original route that led to the tourist area of Comuna 13, known as the “traditional route.”
I disagree that it is unsafe. In the video above, you can see my return to the metro station via the Commune 13 traditional route. I found the people to be very friendly and welcoming.
In conclusion, Comuna 13 is a beautiful neighborhood with a remarkable transformation in recent years.
The street art and graffiti covering the area’s walls and buildings are a testament to the community’s resilience and creativity. In addition, they provide a unique insight into the neighborhood’s history and culture.
A solo walking tour of Commune 13 is an excellent way to explore the neighborhood’s many highlights and better understand the area’s transformation. Whether you’re a street art enthusiast or a history buff, this vibrant and diverse neighborhood is worth visiting.
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