Museo El Castillo – A Tragic Story

Museo El Castillo – A Tragic Story
August 8, 2011 Lainie Liberti

The Castle

One afternoon in Medellin, we were strolling through the outskirts of the El Poblado neighborhood, we stumbled upon this beautiful castle. Not knowing what it was, we decided to explore the grounds, and even ‘accidentally’ snuck through an open door to see the beautifully preserved room. The gardens were absolutely stunning and delivered us into a springtime  slice of paradise in the middle of Medellin’s brick city.

Besides the extensive gardens, the grounds had multiple fountains that transported us back in time.

I captured as much as I could in photographs before I was escorted out of the building. The grounds were so beautiful, and when I returned to our place in Medellin, I researched the location we had just visited, wanting to learn more.

Diego Echavarría Masses

The castle was built around 1930 by architect Nel Rodriguez medieval Gothic style in the manner of an old European castle. In 1943,  Diego Echavarria bought the castle as a family home for his wife German Doña zur Benedikta Nieden, known as Dona Dita and their young daughter. The family endured many tragedies in their life, the biggest was losing their only daughter to an illness while she traveling through Europe after finishing school The family was devastated. Then, in September of 1971,  Echavarría was kidnapped while on his way to his home in the limousine in the El Poblado neighborhood of Medellin.

Wealthy families were always at risk of such things in Colombia and he had forbid his wife from paying the kidnappers for his liberation, should this happen to him. Echavarria had not wanted to encourage the practice of paying a ransom, therefore a ransom was never paid. Thus  Echavarria was eventually killed by the frustrated kidnappers.

Soon after Echavarria’s death,  his wife Dona Dita moved back to Germany and donated the home, furnishings and painful memories to the city of Medellin. The council has since maintained the grounds and turned the home into a museum.

The car Echavarria  was kidnapped in had gone missing at a mechanic’s repair shop, until being found in the street abandoned and in poor condition at the end of the ’80s, almost 10 years later.

The permanent exhibition is divided into nine rooms: Sala Luis XV, Music Room, Colonial Room, Entrance Hall, Hall of the Gobelins; Room Don Diego Isolde Room, Room Dona Room Dita and Remembrance.

Be sure to visit our post on the street art in Medellin, another kind of art.


  1. Ana O'Reilly 13 years ago

    So beautiful and sad

  2. Katrina 13 years ago

    Beautiful pictures. u00a0And wow, that is tragic story. u00a0I don’t think I would hold back from paying ransom if a loved one was captured. u00a0I definitely understand the principle, but I am fierce when it comes to loved ones. u00a0I imagine I would have used the money to raise an army to mount a rescue mission, though, instead of paying or doing nothing.nnnIn any case, glad you snuck in and got some snaps. u00a0;)

  3. Jade 13 years ago

    What a beautiful place! But a very sad story.nnJade Johnston –

  4. Narayan 7 years ago

    Why wouldn’t you pay for admission???!!!

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.