As the oldest departmental university in Colombia, the central building of the University of Antioquia located in San Ignacio square, downtown Medellin, is a stunning building with vibrant colors drawing in passersby.
Sitting in the middle of San Ignacio Square and neo-classical in style, the San Ignacio Building was built in 1803 and declared a National Monument on March 12, 1982.
The birth of the building dates back to 1793, when the Council of Medellin purchased the land in the then district of Saint Lawrence (San Ignacio square today) and began raising funds to build an architectural complex comprising of a church, a convent and a school.
The story then jumps to 1803 when Spanish priest Fray Rafael de la Serna, first Rector of the Alma Mater, was commissioned to coordinate the construction of the buildings.
Finally in 1886, after a period of difficulties due to the unstable social and political environment of the country, the San Ignacio Building was renamed the University of Antioquia and welcomed into their classrooms the School of Arts and Crafts as well as the School of Mines.
The University of Antioquia is considered one of the best universities in Colombia. Surpassed only by the University of the Andes in age, the building itself is almost 250 years old with the University itself now having spread across more modern campuses all over the city of Medellin.
At the San Ignacio Building, the “paraninfo”, or the main event room of the Alma Mater, stands out as it has witnessed the dissertations of renowned intellectuals from around the world.
Nowadays the San Ignacio building is the headquarters of the Historical Collection of the University Museum. It contains over 1,000 historical pieces from various departments of the University of Antioquia as well as a historical photographic archive of both the University and of Medellin.