Medellín is the second largest city in Colombia. It has 2.6 million residents (2020) and is the capital of the department of Antioquia. It's set in a valley running south to north and just a one-hour flight from Bogotá. For international travelers, Medellín is perhaps most famous for the Botero Museum, whose namesake is one of the most famous modern artists alive today. It is also known for its perfect climate with its nickname "city of the eternal spring".
Let's just get it out of the way up front: throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Medellín was considered one of the most dangerous cities in the world for its size, and had a highly disproportional homicide and kidnapping rate. It was the home of the drug lord Pablo Escobar and the so-called Medellín Cartel, who virtually took over the city during that time. Since his demise in the mid-1990s, the cartel was disbanded and the city rebounded tremendously. In 1991 there were 6,500 murders in the city, by 2009 the murder rate decreased to 2,900. In 2016, there were a total of 534 homicides reported in Medellín.
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