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Manizales is a city and municipality in central Colombia, capital of the Department of Caldas and part of the region of Colombian Coffee-Growers Axis, near the Nevado del Ruiz volcano.
Presently, the city is the main center for the production of Colombian coffee and an important hub for higher educational institutions.
Manizales is the capital city of one of the smallest Colombian departments. The city 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 many 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, which has an altitude of about 5,321 meters.
It is in the basin of the Rio Chinchiná and subbasin of the Guacaica River. Natural threats are earthquakes, mud slides, and volcanic eruptions.
The Nevado del Ruiz of Natural Los Nevados National Park seen from the city.
Its core business traditionally has been the cultivation and production of coffee.
This culture allowed the creation of new jobs and several factories, some of which remain in the metropolitan area while others have reduced their operations or moved to other cities aggravating the unemployment problem.
These companies are engaged in products such as liquor, shoes, rubber, chocolate, banks, detergents and soaps, threshing and packaged coffee, sweets and metallurgical among others. In addition there are institutions and companies involved in the coffee sector as the Departmental Committee of Coffee Growers of Caldas, Almacafé, Cenicafe, and a number of other industries involved in processing of coffee (Threshers, Cooperatives, Exporting).