Visitors to Poblado, a wealthy area in the green hills of Medellin, are in for a surprise. Behind heavy iron, Gothic gates and amid trees covered in Spanish moss, there’s a 17th-century castle in the style of those in France’s Loire Valley.
Built in 1930, it was later bought by Diego Echavarria and his wife. This wealthy family’s passion for art and culture is obvious in their home, where French and Spanish artwork lines the walls. But the story behind the castle is even more interesting than the building itself. On free tours you will learn about the family’s history, including the death of their daughter and the kidnapping and death of Echavarria himself shortly after.
After these tragic events, the house and possessions were donated to the city of Medellin, and the castle was opened to the public as a museum in 1971. Everything has been preserved just as the family left it, and tours include glimpses of the bedrooms, the dining area with a 10-seat dining table and porcelain dishes, the library with all of the family’s books and many other personal items.
Outside, the immense garden has fountains, exotic plants and wildlife, and a view of the city of eternal spring with its mountainous backdrop. The museum also serves as a cultural center for dance, music, crafts and arts.
The castle is open Monday through Friday, 9am to noon and 2 to 6pm, and Saturday and Sunday 10am to 5pm. Admission is about $4 and free tours are available. To get to the castle, take the metro to the Aguacatala station and then catch a bus up the hill to the castle. You can also take a taxi. Photography is not allowed within the castle.