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Medellin was founded in 1616 in the scenic Aburrá valley, but remained small until the coffee boom. Medellin now has a population of almost 3 million people, with an area of 362 kilometers squared, and an average temperature of 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Medellin is widely regarded in Colombia as a clean, well-organized and economically vibrant community. Its people are hard-working and industrious. Major industries include coffee and flower export, information technology and hotel services. It is also the fashion capital of Colombia. Each year the "Feria de Las Flores" (Flower Festival) attracts visitors from all over South America for parades and conventions. The city's fast and efficient metro is the only public transit subway system in Colombia. In culinary delights, Medellin is said to have created Colombia's unique "arepa" - a bread and corn patty stuffed with cheese which I enjoy very much, but both of my parents hate.
The Medellin Lady, affectionately called Paisa, is seen by many as the most beautiful of the Colombian Latinas. A famous Colombian saying goes: "If you want a pretty mistress, go to Cali, but if you want a beautiful wife, go to Medellin."
Medellin is considered by many outside of South America to be the most dangerous city in the world, Medellin, Colombia is internationally renowned as the home of Colombian icon Pablo Escobar, a drug lord. During the Pablo Escobar time, people were scared to roam the streets in fear for their lives. It was said that Pablo Escobar owned a lot of the government and that because of him the police department was a corrupted one.
After Pablo Escobar's capture in 1982, a prison was built specifically for him the man who was known as "the billionaire godfather of international cocaine trafficking." This prison, however, actually looked more like a three- or four-star hotel. In July 1992, Escobar escaped, and was killed in a dramatic rooftop shooting. However, some believe he is still alive. With the death of Pablo Escobar, Medellín is slowly recovering, but is not yet a full-fledged tourist destination. However, there is plenty to do and see in the city itself and the scenic surroundings.
There is a lot to Medellin that the international community does not see. Medellin is also home of Fernando Botero, as well as the annual Flower Festival, a huge event that takes place in the city in late July and early August.
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The Flower Festival, is also a major attraction in Medellin. It takes place at the end of July and it lasts until early August. This huge annual event is opened with about 7,000 campesinos parading through the city on horseback. Groups or individuals may have a theme or motto, such as peace, but other prefer to linger along the route provoking cheers from the large audience. Others gallop, or dance their horses decorated in all types of colors and of different sizes for the duration of the parade which goes on for about eight hours.
I admit I was nervous walking though a city with such an infamous past when I returned there 10 years ago. Although I was born and raised in Medellin, I was still cautious about exploring the city. Things may be slightly better since Pablo Escobar's death, but it is still not the safest place to be wondering about. With all the dangerous things going on over there, I still won't pass up the chance to go again in the near future.