City, capital of Uruguay and its Montevideo Department, on the Río
de la Plata, in the southern part of the country is a spacious community with
broad boulevards, and the nation's largest city and its principal economic,
administrative, and cultural center.
The Spanish governor of Buenos Aires, Argentina, founded Montevideo in 1726 in
order to protect the region from Portuguese infiltration from Brazil. The
capital received its name “Monte vide eu” ("I see a hill") from a Portuguese explorer when he
first observed the 435 ft tall El Cerro hill. From 1807-1830 the area
frequently changed hands by various foreign forces. The Capital was besieged
from 1843–1851 during Uruguay’s civil war. During this time Montevideo
thrived and became the principal port of the Rio de la Plata. In the late
1800’s and early 1900’s Italians and Spaniards began migrating to the
capital ultimately swelling the cities inhabitants to nearly half of the
countries entire population. Montevideo has 1.5 million inhabitants, which is
nearly half of the country’s population.
Most of Uruguay's meat and wool-processing
plants and other manufacturing establishments are located in the metropolitan
area. The city also has a large fishing industry, and its port handles the bulk
of the nation's foreign trade. Many tourists visit the city and nearby beach
resorts. Landmarks include the mausoleum of
José Gervasio Artigas, the Uruguayan national hero; the Cabildo, formerly the
seat of the national legislature; an ornate cathedral (1790-1804); and the National Museum
of Fine Arts (1911).
PLACES OF INTEREST
Before 1833, parts of Independence Square contained the Citadel built by the
Spanish. However its military value was ridiculed and eventually it was
destroyed. Today in its center you will find a statue to the 'father' of
Uruguay, General Gervasio Artigas, who founded the independence movement of the
19th century. The General's ashes are contained
at the base of the statue and at
night a spotlight is turned onto the urn so that it is never in the dark.
Consisting of four different houses, dating back to the late 18th century, most
of which were residencies of former Uruguayan national heroes. The exception is
Museo Romantico which contains classical artifacts.
One of the most impressive landmarks in the whole of Uruguay, this three story
building dates back to 1908. Architect Victor Meano won an international
competition with his design of the city's legislature although his designs were
somewhat modified by other architects before completion.
Museo Del Gaucho
y la Moneda
With a reputation as the best museum in the city, the museum is home to the
heart and soul of Uruguay, the Gaucho. Everything from traditional clothing to
intricate metalworkings are on display as well as matte, the traditional tea of
the 'cowboy'. The museum also contains a superb display of ancient European and
South American coins on its first floor.
Punta Del Este
Located 86 miles East of Montevideo, Punta del Este has long been a favorite
resort town for those seeking the sun. The main activities of this area are
tanning, eating and drinking, and, other than these, the main attraction would
be the craft market at Plaza Artigas. A favorite spot for visitors, this
colorful and quaint location has plenty to enamor would be shoppers.
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