Dubbed 'The Miracle City' by the former Colombian president Guillermo Leon Valencia, Armenia is an attractive city with a population of nearly 300,000. Founded on 14 October 1889 by Jesus Maria Ocampo and situated in the so-called “coffee triangle” in the centre of the country, it is now the capital of Quindio, one of the nation’s 32 provinces.
The city’s inhabitants are known for their drive and determination, a key factor in Armenia’s rapid social, political and economic development, and its culture has much in common with the paisa spirit that characterises neighbouring Antioquia, another region known for its warm, friendly and happy-go-lucky people.
The local economy is based on the production of the smoothest coffee in the world. Boasting a quality of life matched by few other cities in Colombia, Armenia has many theme and tourist parks, not to mention a warm climate and attractive natural landscapes, attributes that have helped it become the second most popular tourist destination in the country. Offering increasing opportunities for its inhabitants, it is a booming, modern city steeped in culture, and a genuine paradise on Earth, where the local maxim, “If you visit, you come back and if you come back, you stay” most definitely holds true.
Armenia’s home club is Deportes Quindio, which plays its football in the Colombian First Division. Founded in 1956, Deportes won the championship in 1956 but have never played in the Copa Libertadores. The team’s home ground is the Estadio Centenario, also known as “The Garden of America”. It was opened in 1987 in the run-up to the city’s centenary celebrations.
Many of the world’s greatest footballers have taken their first steps on the road to stardom at the Centenario, among them Argentina’s Lionel Messi, Brazil’s Ronaldo, Alvaro Recoba of Uruguay and Colombian legends Ivan Rene Valenciano, Faustino Asprilla and Carlos Valderrama. The stadium has hosted games at a number of tournaments, including the 2001 Copa America, the 1987 and 2005 South American U-20 championships and the 1993 South American U-17 Championship.