Iglesia de San Ignacio is a notable and historic Roman Catholic church located in Medellín, which is worth seeing if you like old churches. Furthermore, this Catholic church has many pieces of religious artwork.

Iglesia de San Ignacio is an interesting church as the exterior is Baroque-style and the interior is colonial-style. The church is located in La Candelaria (El Centro) and could be seen will visiting other tourist sites in El Centro like Plaza Botero and Museo de Antioquia.

History of Iglesia de San Ignacio

In the late 1700’s the Fanciscans in Medellín wanted to have a local religious school. This was due to the only way for their children to study religion was to send them off to Bogotá or Popayán.

The city attorney at the time with support from Bogotá officials and the bishop in Popayán convinced King Carlos IV of the need, who authorized construction of the School of Franciscan (origin of the University of Antioquia) and the Church of San Francisco.

The church is part of the original group of buildings that was started construction by the Franciscans in 1793 according to a plaque outside the church.  The original plans for the church were drawn up by Fray Luis Gutiérrez. And the church was completed in 1809.

In 1812, the Franciscan community left Medellín and did not manage to occupy the buildings, with possession passing to the local government.

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

However, on May 9, 1885, Marceliano Vélez, the head of the State of Antioquia at the time, returned the church to the diocese in the city. Finally, on July 29, 1886, the church was inaugurated as Iglesia de San Ignacio.

The church was later renovated by the architects Agustin Goovaert and Felix Mejia. The exterior of the church has Spanish Baroque characteristics. And the interior of the church is a colonial design.

The main nave inside Iglesia de San Ignacio

The main nave inside Iglesia de San Ignacio

Inside Iglesia de San Ignacio

Inside the church you will find a beautiful interior that is white with burgundy and gold trim. And the church has wooden pews.

One of many paintings in the church

One of many paintings in the church

Another painting in the church

Another painting in the church

Religious artwork in Iglesia de San Ignacio

Religious artwork in Iglesia de San Ignacio

Additional artwork in the church

Additional artwork in the church

There are many pieces of religious artwork to be found throughout this church.

Confessionals in the church

Confessionals in the church

Like many other churches in the city, Iglesia de San Ignacio has confessionals on both the right and left sides.

Organ in Iglesia de San Ignacio

Organ in Iglesia de San Ignacio

In addition, the church has an organ located on the second floor.

Tram at San José station next to Igelesia de San José

Tram at San José station next to Igelesia de San José

How to Get to Iglesia de San Ignacio

Iglesia de San Ignacio is conveniently located only two blocks from the San José metro station on the Ayacucho tram line – line T-A of the Medellín metro system. This tram line opened in late 2015 and runs east from the San Antonio metro station. And the San José station is the first station from the San Antonio station.

We previously looked at Iglesia de San José, which located is right next to the San José metro station. So, you could easily see both churches as Iglesia de San Ignacio is only two blocks from Iglesia de San José.  Also only about five blocks away is Iglesia San Antonio and Plaza San Antonio. So, three notable and historic churches in El Centro could easily be seen together.

San Ignacio Plaza

San Ignacio Plaza

Iglesia de San Ignacio is located at San Ignacio Plaza, which is a relatively small plaza. Left of the church you will see a Universidad de Antioquia building.

Universidad de Antioquia building

Universidad de Antioquia building

Furthermore, Iglesia de San Ignacio is also located about 7-8 blocks from either the Parque Barrío or San Antonio metro stations on Line A of the Medellín metro.

In addition, most taxi or Uber drivers in Medellín will know where the nearby Iglesia de San José is located. If not, just tell the driver “Iglesia de San José en El Centro – Avenida Oriental con Ayacucho.” And Iglesia de San Ignacio is located only two blocks away.

Location of Iglesia de San Ignacio

Address: Carrera 44 # 48-18, El Centro, Medellín

Phone: +57 4 239 5396

Email: sanignacio@arqmedellin.co

Hours: Monday to Friday the church has mass scheduled at 7:00, 9:00 and 11:00 am as well as 6:30 pm. Saturday at 7:00, 9:00 and 11:00 am and noon as well as 6:30 pm.  Sunday 7:30, 9:00, 10:00 11:30 am and 6:30 and 8:00 pm. So, in the early afternoon on all days, the church doors are normally closed.

The Beautiful Churches in Medellín and the Aburrá Valley

In the metropolitan Medellín metro area (Aburrá Valley), there are over 300 Roman Catholic churches. Most notably, there is a complete list of all the churches of the Archdiocese of Medellín.

We have looked at a total of 33 beautiful churches in the Medellín metro area and the Aburrá Valley in a series on this website. And 22 of the churches we have looked at in detail are in Medellín:

  1. Catedral Basílica Metropolitana – the main church of the Archdiocese of Medellín and the largest church in the city.
  2. Iglesia de La Candelaria – the oldest church in Medellín, which is also a National Monument of Colombia.
  3. Iglesia San Antonio and Plaza San Antonio – the church with the largest dome in Medellín located next to Plaza San Antonio with four Fernando Botero sculptures.
  4. Iglesia Jesús Nazareno – another of the most beautiful churches in Medellín.
  5. Iglesia Nuestra Señora del Perpetuo Socorro – a beautiful Gothic-style church in Medellín.
  6. Iglesia del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús – a neo-Gothic-style church located in Barrio Triste in Medellín.
  7. Iglesia de San José – a Boroque-style church located in El Centro, Medellín.
  8. Iglesia del Señor de las Misericordias – a neo-Gothic-style church located in the Manrique neighborhood of Medellín.
  9. Iglesia San José – a Romanesque-style church located next to Parque Poblado in El Poblado.
  10. Iglesia de la Veracruz – a colonial church with a history that goes back to 1682, which makes it one of the oldest churches in Medellín.
  11. Iglesia de San Ignacio – a beautiful church in El Centro with a Baroque-style exterior and colonial interior.
  12. Iglesia de Nuestra Señora – a Roman-style church located next to Parque Belén in Medellín.
  13. Iglesia el Calvario – a Romanesque-style church in the Aranjuez comuna in Medellín.
  14. Iglesia de Nuestra Señora del Sufragio – a neo-Romanesque-style church in the Boston barrio in Medellín.
  15. Iglesia de San Benito – a neo-Romanesque-style church with a history that traces back to 1678, which make it one of the oldest churches in Medellín.
  16. Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de los Dolores – a Neo-Byzantine-style church in the La América comuna in Medellín.
  17. Iglesia de Nuestra Señora del Sagrado Corazón – a beautiful Neo-Gothic-style church in the Buenos Aires comuna in Medellín.
  18. Iglesia de Cristo Rey – a beautiful church in the Guayabal comuna of Medellín with many beautiful stained-glass windows.
  19. Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de los Dolores – a beautiful Neoclassical-style church in the Robledo comuna of Medellín, which is also a National Monument of Colombia.
  20. Iglesia del Cementerio San Pedro – a beautiful church built in 1929 that has some of the most beautiful stained-glass windows found in the churches in Medellín.
  21. Iglesia de El Niño Jesús de Praga – a beautiful church in the Villa Hermosa comuna in Medellín.
  22. Iglesia San Joaquín – a beautiful church in the Laureles-Estadio comuna in Medellín that is reportedly the second largest church in Medellín.

Also, we have looked at the principal church in each of the other nine municipalities in the Aburrá Valley:

  1. Iglesia de Santa Gertrudis – a beautiful church in Envigado located next to Parque Envigado.
  2. Iglesia Nuestra Señora del Rosario – a church located in Bello that is arguably the most beautiful church in the Aburrá Valley
  3. Iglesia de Santa Ana – a very popular church in Sabaneta located next to Parque Sabaneta.
  4. Iglesia de Nuestra Señora del Rosario – a historic church in Itagüí near Medellín with a history that traces back to 1743.
  5. Nuestra Señora Chiquinquirá – a beautiful church in La Estrella with a Neo-Gothic-style.
  6. Catedral Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes – a Neoclassical-style church with a history that traces back to 1793 and is located in the Caldas municipality south of Medellín.
  7. Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de la Asunción – a Baroque-style church with a history that traces back to 1715 and is located in the Copacabana municipality north of Medellín.
  8. Catedral de Nuestra Señora del Rosario – a Neo-Romanesque-style church located in the Girardota municipality northeast of Medellín.
  9. Iglesia de San Antonio de Padua – a Neo-Romanesque-style church located in the Barbosa municipality northeast of Medellín.

Also, we looked at two smaller colonial-style churches while looking in detail at two nearby larger churches:

  1. Hato Viejo Chapel – a colonial-style church in Bello built between 1772 and 1796. It’s also a National Monument of Colombia. We looked at Hato Viejo Chapel while covering Nuestra Señora del Rosario.
  2. Capilla de María Auxiliadora – a colonial-style church in Barbosa built between 1773 and 1776. We looked at Capilla de María Auxiliadora while covering Iglesia de San Antonio de Padua.

In addition, we looked at Las Lajas Sanctuary located in Ipiales, Colombia, which is considered the most beautiful church in Colombia. Also, it’s considered by many to be one of the most beautiful churches in the world.

The façade of Iglesia de San Ignacio

The façade of Iglesia de San Ignacio

Zoom in at the top center of the façade of Iglesia de San Ignacio

Zoom in at the top center of the façade of Iglesia de San Ignacio

The Bottom Line: Iglesia de San Ignacio

Iglesia de San Ignacio is found in only one of the 10 English language Colombia travel guidebooks that I have. But it’s worth stopping to see this historic church. And it’s easy to get to since the church located only two blocks from the San José metro station on the T-A tram line.

You could potentially stop to see this church as well as Iglesia de San José after taking the La Sierra Tour, which goes on the T-A tram line.

Seems like, in my experience, that most of the travel guidebooks in English about Colombia are missing many of the best places in the cities and pueblos in Colombia.

Consequently, we have covered the beautiful churches in the Medellín metro area in a comprehensive series on this website. Most noteworthy, we did this since a majority of the beautiful and notable churches in the city are missing from the English-language travel guidebooks about Colombia.

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