September 01, 2017

Summer at Medellín [Part 4. Comuna 13 Tour]

The next weekend, I went to Comuna 13 Graffiti Tour at San Javier. San Javier would be probably be the poorest and most dangerous neighbourhood in Medellin a few years ago, mainly because it used to be controlled by guerrillas and drug group (and the remaining impact after the death of the notorious Pablo Escobar). Comuna 13, thus as one of the community in San Javier, suffered a lot from dangerous and disturbance.

This is one of the pictures I took at Comuna 13. I can see from the top that the houses are really, really crowded. However, the views are still really amazing. The tour guide introduced us the story of this neighbourhood. Also, I heard locals there telling their stories – how they suffered from violence, how they went out of sufferings even after losing their loves, and how they reconstructed the neighbourhood and welcomed a new life. I got really touched.

Now Comuna 13 has become a safe and lively neighbourhood. It was not dangerous at all! What makes such transition? One thing is because all the colourful and creative graffitis painted on the wall. Graffitis are really everywhere! With arts, the neighbourhood was transforming from a dark area into an innovative and energetic place. There are so many good paintings with special meanings, although I failed to record most of them.

This is another view of Comuna 13. The neighbourhood has so many steep hills.

I am lucky to attend this tour. It provided me with a good understanding of the history of Medellin. We all know some of the bad history of this country, but that is definitely not what it is today. I am delighted to see how people themselves recover from wars and embrace their new life with optimism and passion. I’d say I am not a big fan of graffiti, but I have seen its meaning as both inspiring art and a source of vigour. Also, the views of the whole neighbourhood is definitely amazing!

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