46km (29 miles) SE from Pereira, 96km (60 miles) S from Manizales
Armenia is the capital of the state of Quindío, and since it was founded in 1889, it has withstood the worst of the region’s seismic activity. In 1999, an earthquake with a 6.2 magnitude wiped out more than one third of the city and damaged practically all the buildings in the center. With the enterprising zeal, rugged individualism, and tenacity for which Antioqueños are famed, the city was rebuilt in just 15 years, a feat which led to the city’s moniker, “The Miracle City.” Now, with its earthquake-proof structures and austere concrete behemoths, Armenia is hardly a gem. Most travelers come here for a brief layover en-route to the region’s more scenic pleasures. Still, with its thrusting commercial spirit and several interesting attractions within the city and just a short drive away, Armenia makes for an earthy preamble and urban contrast to the otherworldly landscapes of Colombia’s coffee country.