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51km (32 miles) NE from Pereira, 96km (60 miles) N from Armenia

With its mountain setting, lively atmosphere, proud denizens, and proximity to stunning natural attractions, Manizales makes up for in spirit and location what it lacks in cultural attractions and architectural prowess. Founded in 1848 by Antioquian settlers fleeing civil unrest in the north, Manizales is a modern city that has borne the brunt of earthquakes (most recently in 1979), and fires (1926). To the southeast of the city, the savage peaks of Nevado del Ruiz loom large both geographically and psychologically. Architecturally speaking, the city is, for the most part, a modern glut of behemoth office blocks and drab apartment buildings, and you’ll have to cast your net far and wide to experience the city’s Republican 19th-century architectural styles.