About Manizales

2,124 meter
Capital of Caldas
Andean Region
(Región Andina)


Manizales is the capital of the province of Caldas. This is the smallest province of Colombia. The city currently has about 420,000 inhabitants. Manizales is located in the triangle of Colombia coffee. Founded in 1849 by colonists from Antioquia. Today it is a city with an economic, industrial, cultural and tourism sectors. It is also known for its annual fair and the International Theatre Festival.


The city was founded in October 12, 1849 by an expedition which bore the name "the expedition of 20". The name was so because the expedition had 20 participants. Around 1880, the city'scenter became industrial center . This is because the coffee production and everything around it starts to grow in the region. During the 1000 days of war in 1900 and especially after, the importance of a top county and the province of Caldas was born. Manizales is designated as the capital of the province. The city had around 1900 20.000 inhabitants. In the 20 years after that number doubled. During the great fire of 1927, the cathedral of the city goes up in flames.
In 1943 the first university opened in the city. Many new universities followed after that. It is within Colombia touted as a "university town".
In 1979, an earthquake hit with the epicenter in the northern province. The city is also damaged. In 1985, there is an eruption of the volcano "Nevado del Ruiz". The eruption is called "the tragedy of Armero" named after the  buried city Armero. Manizales what lies on the other side also suffer from the eruption. In the 90s the city sees that it can not survive on just the instabil coffee market. There are started large industrial and commercial projects to change that.


The biggest cultural event which is held in the city is the international theater festival. The festival is one of the biggest theater festivals in South America. Since 1968 the festival is organized. At the festival 700 companies from 40 different countries participate.
Also, another annual festival is the Jazz Festival. Jazz musicians from around the world come to this festival.
But surely the biggest and most famous festival in Manizales Colombia is the Manizales Fair. In 1951 started as a bull fighting event and parades. It has grown up to a party for the opening of the bullfighting season with exhibitions, parades, international and national bands and cultural shows. Also during the party a beauty queen is elected. It is after the carnival in Barranquilla the largest national party.


The core business has historically been the cultivation and production of coffee and it related development progress across the region. This crop has led to the creation of new jobs and factories such as beverages, shoes, rubber, chocolate, banks, coffee, candy, metals and others. It has also large institutions and enterprises engaged in the coffee sector such as cooperatives, exporters and many other industries engaged in the processing of coffee.
There is a 2nd great economy. Because of the growth of universities in the 2nd half of the 20th century it became a college town. The universities offer courses at high academic level. This attracts students from other regions and provinces to Manizales.