Day 2 - Montevideo City (Uruguay)



Montevideo 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). 



Plaza Independencia
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.

Museo Histórico Nacional
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.

Palacio Legislativo
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 sun 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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