Iglesia San Antonio is another of the notable and historic Roman Catholic churches located in Medellín and is worth seeing. The Renaissance style church is dedicated to San Antonio de Padua.
Iglesia San Antonio is best known for its sizable dome which is reportedly the largest in the city and one of the biggest in the country.
The church is located next to Parque San Antonio in La Candelaria (El Cento). The church is worth seeing while touring the other tourist sites in the nearby area such as Museo de Antioquia and Plaza Botero.
It is also worth seeing the Fernando Botero sculptures in Parque San Antonio as there is some violent history behind one of them, which is explained below.
History of the Church
Father Frey Benjamin Maschiantonio, an expert in Hebrew and Greek, built the church between 1874 and 1902.
The church was completely renovated between 1929 and 1945 when the large dome was added, along with a Spanish organ, which is now reportedly partly destroyed.
Inside the Church
The interior of Iglesia San Antonio is white and red with some gold trim, and many beautiful pieces of art can be found in the church.
The most notable feature in the church is its sizable dome, which has several stained glass windows as well as artwork located nearby.
The church also has confessionals found along the right and left aisles. The organ in the church is located on the second floor.
How to Get There
Iglesia San Antonio is located on Carrera 48, which is conveniently located about three blocks from the San Antonio metro station on Line A.
The three-block walk from the San Antonio metro station to the church has streets lined with some small shops and restaurants.
Note that there is now some street construction going on near the San Antonio metro station, which impedes car access, and pedestrians will need to take a bit of a roundabout way to get to the church.
The church is also located about three block from the Alpujarra metro station on Line A.
To get to the church you could also ask any taxi driver in Medellín to take you to “Iglesia San Antonio – en El Centro,” just about every taxi driver will know where it’s located.
The open hours aren’t posted on the church, but it has been open the several times I have gone by it during the day. To make sure it is open so you can see the impressive dome in the church, it is recommended to call to check.
Parque San Antonio
Iglesia San Antonio is located right next to Parque San Antonio, which underwent some renovations in 2012 with the addition of about 17 types of plants near the church.
Parque San Antonio is also known as Plaza San Antonio. But in realty it is both a park (near the church) as well as a large plaza where four of Fernando Botero statues are located, and concerts are sometimes held.
The plaza area is notorious for a bomb attack, which happened in the late evening on June 10, 1995.
The bomb was placed in a Botero bird sculpture, and the explosion reportedly resulted in 23 deaths and more than 200 wounded with a concert going on at the time in the area.
No one claimed responsibility for the bombing, but it came barely 24 hours after a joint army and police search squad arrested the chief of the Cali cocaine cartel. The FARC was also suspected in the bombing.
Botero’s son, Fernando Botero Zea, was Colombia’s Minister of Defense at the time.
After the bombing, Fernando Botero created an identical sculpture and placed it in 2000 alongside the original as a sign of peace and homage to the lost lives.
The original bombed bird sculpture was left as a reminder of the hard times Medellín has been through.
While visiting Parque San Antonio and nearby areas, be aware that pickpockets and robbers are known to be active in this part of the city.
At the end of Parque San Antonio, right next to the church is a picturesque pedestrian bridge across San Juan street.
Note to Readers
This is the seventh notable church in Medellín we have looked at in a new series looking at the most remarkable churches in the city.
We previously looked at:
- Iglesia de la Veracruz,
- Iglesia Jesús Nazareno,
- Catedral Basílica Metropolitana,
- Iglesia de La Candelaria,
- Iglesia San Jose, and
- Iglesia del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús
The first seven churches we have looked at in Medellín have all been located in El Centro, and all could be seen in a few hours time.
It would be possible to combine a tour of some of the notable churches in El Centro along with visits to Museo de Antioquia and Plaza Botero.
The three churches that are the closest to Iglesia San Antonio in El Centro are Iglesia San Jose, Iglesia de La Candelaria and Iglesia de la Veracruz.
The majority of the notable churches in Medellín are located in El Centro. We plan to look at one more notable church in El Centro, Iglesia Nuestra Señora del Perpetuo Socorro.
We also plan to look at several other notable and historic churches in Medellín, which in other neighborhoods.
We are covering the churches in Medellín in a series on this website as we have found that many of the beautiful churches in the city are unfortunately missing from the travel guidebooks of Colombia.