Iglesia de San Ignacio, a Historic Church in El Centro

Iglesia de San Ignacio
Iglesia de San Ignacio

Iglesia de San Ignacio is another of the notable and historic Roman Catholic churches in Medellín. This church was also recommended by one of our readers.

The exterior of Iglesia de San Ignacio is Baroque, but the interior is Colonial.

The church located in La Candelaria (El Cento) is worth seeing while touring other sites in the area like Museo de Antioquia and Plaza Botero.

History of the Church

In the early 1800s the people of Medellín were eager to have a local religious school as the only way for children to study religion was to send them off to Bogotá or Popayán.

The city attorney along with the support of the bishop of Popayán and Bogotá officials persuaded King Carlos IV, who authorized the construction of the School of Franciscan (which was the origin of the University of Antioquia) and the Church of San Francisco.

Construction started in 1803 and the church was completed in 1809. However, in 1812, after Colombia gained, the Franciscan community abandoned Medellín.

Since that time and during civil wars in Colombia, the church was occupied by the military, particularly in early 1885, when it was converted into a military barracks with kitchens and bedrooms for troops.

However, in 1886, Bishop Bernardo Herrera Restrepo gave to the Jesuits the Church of San Francisco and they decorated it and inaugurated it as Iglesia de San Ignacio on July 29, 1886.

Since that time it has operated as a Roman Catholic church.

The Central Nave Inside Iglesia de San Ignacio
The Central Nave Inside Iglesia de San Ignacio

Inside the Church

The interior of Iglesia de San Ignacio is white and dark red with gold trim. Many beautiful pieces of art can be found in the church.

The main altar in the church is impressive and the church has confessionals found along the right and left aisles. It also has an organ found on the second floor.

How to Get There

Iglesia de San Ignacio is located at the relatively small San Ignacio Plaza, which is located along Carrera 44 at Ayacucho.

The doors to the church have been open during the day the few times I have walked by it, even when mass was not going on.

The easiest way to get to Iglesia de San Ignacio is to take the Medellín metro to the Parque Berrio station or the San Antonio station and the church is located about a seven-block walk from either metro station.

The church is located only two blocks from Iglesia de San José, another historic church in El Centro.  To get to Iglesia de San Ignacio from Iglesia de San José, walk two blocks along Ayacucho from Oriental.

Iglesia San Antonio is also located nearby (about seven blocks), so it would be possible to see all three historic churches in a relatively short amount of time.

Or you can ask any taxi driver in Medellín to take you to “Iglesia de San Ignacio en El Centro,” just about every taxi driver will know where to find it.

Note to Readers

This is the ninth 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:

  1. Iglesia de la Veracruz
  2. Iglesia Jesús Nazareno
  3. Catedral Basílica Metropolitana
  4. Iglesia de La Candelaria
  5. Iglesia San Jose
  6. Iglesia del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús
  7. Iglesia San Antonio
  8. Iglesia Nuestra Señora del Perpetuo Socorro

The first nine churches we have looked at in Medellín have all been in 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.

It would be possible to combine a tour of several of the notable churches in La Candelaria (El Centro) along with visits to Museo de Antioquia and Plaza Botero.

The majority of the notable churches in Medellín are located in El Centro and Iglesia de San Ignacio is the last one we plan to look at in El Centro.

We plan over the next month or two look at more historic churches in Medellín which are located in other parts of 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.

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  1. Thanks for continuing this church series. This is a church I wasn’t aware of in Medellin. But I wish you had included some more photos.