Medellin’s main Cathedral, along with thickly shaded Parque Bolivar—once Medellin’s most important plaza—now seem suffocated by the claustrophobic urban chaos that is downtown. The narrow streets and gritty scene make it a bit difficult to appreciate this amazing structure from up close.
Officially called the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Contraception of Mary, this is the largest brick building in the world, and largest cathedral in South America. Designed by French architect Emile Charles Carre and completed in 1931, the tawny towers took 56 years, all total, to build. Look for it as you zip past on rapid transit, with a vantage that allows you to appreciate the enormity of its construction.
The cavernous interior is a bit spare and spooky, but the epic interior arches are well worth a look. This area gets seedy after dark (Bolivar Park, out front, isn’t exactly wholesome even at noon), so stay alert if you’re here for evening Mass.