In exchange for his surrender, the top Colombian drug lord was allowed to build his jail—complete with a disco, jacuzzi, and waterfall. Now 23 years later, it’s a home for the elderly.
With negotiations underway in the spring of 1991, Escobar began hunting for the perfect piece of land upon which to construct his prison. He took along his brother, Roberto, who was the cartel’s accountant. Escobar had scouted much of the vacant land surrounding Medellín but found the lush mountainside of Mont Catedral particularly ideal. “This is the place, brother,” Escobar said during a site visit. “Do you realize that after six in the evening it fogs over and is foggy at dawn, too?” Escobar also appreciated the steep topography that would make it nearly impossible for the military or rival cartels to mount an air attack on the compound. And so, prior to formally surrendering, Escobar began construction on The Cathedral.