Nowadays the city is the main center for the production of Colombian coffee and an important hub for higher educational institutions.
The city of Manizales is described as having "abrupt topography"; it is built in a mountain region with a number of ridgelines and steep slopes. Combined with the seismic instability of the area, this has required architectural adaptations and public works to make the city safer. Even though Manizales has a very difficult topography, there are a lot of coffee plantations in these fertile lands. The city is located in the north of the Colombian Coffee-Growers Axis ("Eje Cafetero"), near the volcano Nevado del Ruiz, at a height of about 2153 meters.
Manizales was founded October 12, 1849, in the middle of a civil war between bipartisan followers; Liberals against Conservatives. The city was founded by a group of twenty Antioquians (The Expedition of the 20), which came from Neira and Salamina. There is a strong Spanish influence in the culture and the population was very homogeneous, mostly whites, until other races and ethnic groups migrated to the city in search of the outstanding universities. A big deal of tango is enjoyed in the city and there is a new appetite for jazz.
Basin of the Rio Chinchiná and sub basin of the Guacaica River.
Earthquakes, slides, and volcanic eruptions
The most important cultural events held are the International Festival of Theater City of Manizales, which is one of the major theater events in Latin-America, the Manizales Jazz Festival which gather Jazz Musicians from all over the world, it's held annually.
The Manizales Fair was born in 1951 with the first centenary of the city. It began with the presentation of grand Bullfights and with typical "Manolas" parade (Spanish parade). Due to its huge welcome by people, more shows and presentations have been brought into the Fair, such as International Coffee Beauty Pageant which together with the bullfighting season turn into the main events of the Fair.
Currently within the Fair you can enjoy activities as: Horseback riding Parades, Typical presentations, "Trovas", other parades, National and International Musicians and Bands, Expositions, and Cultural shows. The Feria de Manizales (Manizales Fair) is the second biggest celebration in the country, after the Barranquilla Carnival.
Manizales is an important regional cultural and educational center, The city has a student population of some 30.000 people that attend 6 colleges and universities: