Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de Belén is another of the notable and historic Roman Catholic churches located in Medellín.
The Roman style church dedicated to the Virgin Mary is located in Belén, which is a working-class community located just west of the Medellín River.
The church is located next to the popular Parque Belén.
History of the Church
In the late seventeenth century a very small church was built in Belén. The church is one of the oldest in the Medellín area with a history that dates back to before 1800.
In 1792, during a visit by the Bishop of Popayán Angel Velarde, he decided that the church was too small as it barely supported 40 parishioners.
But it reportedly wasn’t until 1870, when Lorenzo Escobar began widening the church that served as a parish church. About 25 years later, Canon Ignacio Duque rebuilt the church, with a new facade, towers and dome.
The church has a very old painting of the Virgin Mary that was brought from Spain in the early seventeenth century. The valuable painting was reportedly stolen on November 9, 2014.
Assailants entered the temple early in the morning and targeted the painting, clearly knowing its value. Days later, the painting was returned, but without some jewels that accompanied it.
Inside the Church
The interior of Iglesia de Nuestra Señora is white with gold, red and wood trim. The church is beautiful inside with numerous artwork pieces.
The church has confessionals found along the right and left aisles, which is similar to many other churches in the Medellín metro area. The church also has a crypt where funeral services are held.
Iglesia de Nuestra Señora is located in Belén on Carrera 77 next to Parque Belén.
Parque Belén is arguably the most popular park in Belén. It’s a one square block plaza featuring the Iglesia de Nuestra Señora on one side, and restaurants, bars and several shops around all the rest.
The park has a number of shade trees and is a convenient place to meet up with friends. In the area immediately around the park, there are many restaurants, a couple of casinos and shops of all kinds.
Parque Belén often has numerous vendors with carts selling a variety of inexpensive arts and crafts.
The Centro Comerical Los Molinos shopping mall is also located about a 10-minute walk from Parque Belén.
How to Get There
The easiest way to get to Iglesia de Nuestra Señora is to take the Medellín metro to the Industriales station.
From there it is a short walk to the Metroplus station to connect to the Metroplus bus line to the Belén stop. The church is located one block from the Belén Metroplus station.
Or you can ask any taxi driver in Medellín to take you to “Parque Belén,” just about every taxi driver will know where it is.
The doors to Iglesia de Nuestra Señora are open all the time during the day. It has been open each time I have gone to Parque Belén during the day. I have heard that the church is also open at night.
Note to Readers
This is the thirteenth notable church in Medellín we have looked at in a series on this website looking at the most notable churches in the city.
We previously looked at twelve churches:
- Iglesia de la Veracruz,
- Iglesia Jesús Nazareno,
- Catedral Basílica Metropolitana,
- Iglesia de La Candelaria,
- Iglesia San Jose,
- Iglesia del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús,
- Iglesia San Antonio,
- Iglesia Nuestra Señora del Perpetuo Socorro,
- Iglesia de San Ignacio,
- Iglesia Nuestra Señora del Rosario (in Bello)
- Iglesia de Santa Ana (in Sabaneta),
- Iglesia de Santa Gertrudis (in Envigado)
The first nine churches we have looked at in Medellín have all been located in La Candelaria (El Centro), and all could be seen in a few hours time. Most of the churches in El Centro are located within one to seven blocks of a metro station.
The majority of the notable churches in Medellín are located in El Centro, but we have now turned our focus in this church series to look at some of the most notable churches in other neighborhoods in the city.
We are covering the churches in Medellín in a series on this website as we have found that most of the beautiful churches in the city are unfortunately missing from the travel guidebooks of Colombia.
We plan to look at a few more churches in this church series, which will be the last churches we look at in detail.