Colombian City Inaugurates Giant Outdoor Escalator

The last time we spoke about the Colombian city of Medellin here on OC, it was about the tours based on the life of deceased drug-lord Pablo Escobar. Now the city is in the news again, for an entirely different reason. The residents of Medellin who have long been victims of war and urban violence have a reason to cheer – a giant outdoor escalator worth $6.7 million, installed by the Colombian Government. It was unveiled on Monday.

Comuna 13 is a relatively poor hillside neighborhood in Medellin, whose residents have to make a 35-minute hike uphill every single day to get home from the center of the city. This is roughly equivalent to climbing 28 flights of stairs. Now, thanks to the initiative of the Colombian officials, they do not have to make the exhausting journey any longer. The new escalator will allow residents to complete the trip home in just 6 minutes. What’s more, it’s completely free of cost.

Photo © Luis Benavides/AP

According to the head of projects for Medellin, Cesar Hernandez, the escalator is divided into six sections. It is 1,260 ft in length. One side is meant for transportation uphill, while the other side takes commuters down the hill. A covering for bad weather is also going to be built soon. The Mayor of Medellin, Alonzo Salazar, was reported to have been pleased with the development of the escalator. “It turned out very well. I have not heard any such project elsewhere in the world,” he told the press on the day of unveiling.


The escalator is truly a testament to man’s ability to conquer nature. The project has already sparked interest in neighboring countries. The mayor said that officials from Rio de Janeiro are planning to visit soon, to check on the possibility of replicating the project for their favelas, which is a similar hillside settlement in Brazil.

via ABC News