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Travel in Latin America

Unique Things About Montevideo, Uruguay
By:David Harris

Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay, is a bustling, modern city that is also the nation's largest city. According to Lonely Planet, it stretches out for more than 12 miles from east to west. Although Montevideo does have issues with pollution and traffic, there also is a restored historic district called Ciudad Vieja that offers examples of neoclassical and art deco architecture, shops, places to eat and outdoor cafes. Uruguay also has a lively arts scene, including burgeoning music and theater. You can take in a tango performance or catch an up-and-coming rock band.

Ciudad Vieja
Montevideo's Ciudad Vieja is the section of the city where you can see colonial architecture with its collection of Italian, Spanish and art deco buildings. In the center of the Ciudad Vieja is the Plaza Independencia a wide square surrounded by palm trees. At the heart of the square is a statue of national hero Jose Artigas, whose body is buried beneath. Ciudad Vieja has been renovated with iron gates and old-fashioned street lamps and offers plenty of shopping for antique lovers and restaurants. Though it once had a reputation for being somewhat seedy, these renovations are revitalizing the area.

Iglesia Matriz
The Iglesia Matriz is Montevideo's oldest public building, built in 1804. It was elevated to the status of a cathedral 100 years ago. This national historic monument is one of the biggest centers for Catholics in Uruguay, dedicated to the Immaculate Conception and the apostles Phillip and James. Visitors are welcome to tour the church that houses the bodies of many prominent Uruguayan politicians and religious leaders. Its domed bell tower is a prominent part of Montevideo's skyline.

Iglesia Matriz
Ciudad Vieja, Montevideo, Montevideo, Uruguay
02 915 7018‎

Mercado del Puerto
The Mercado del Puerto is an open-air market that is open during the afternoons and on weekends. For those looking for an authentic taste of Montevideo life, this market and its array of sights and sounds should not be missed. Vendors sell Uruguayan foods like empanadas, grilled meat and seafood. It is also a good place to buy local arts and crafts. On the weekends, the Mercado del Puerto also attracts local musicians, who put on performances while you shop, eat or just hang out.

Mercado del Puerto
Piedras and Yacaré,
Montevideo, Uruguay

Museo Histórico Nacional
The Museo Historico Nacional is made up of various historic houses in the Ciudad Vieja that you can tour, allowing you a look at 19th century Montevideo. Many of these buildings once housed political and military leaders of Uruguay's past. The Museo Romantico contains many examples of antique Uruguayan furniture and paintings. The Casa Rivera was the home of Uruguay's first president, Jose Fructuoso Rivera, and contains many historical pieces of art and artifacts. Casa Garibaldi is the house where Italian nationalist Giuseppe Garibaldi lived in exile for some years after he tried to overthrow the Italian monarchs.

Museo Historico Nacional
Calle Rincon 437
Montevideo 11000

Museo Municipal de Bellas Artes
The Museo Municipal de Bellas Artes is the national art museum of Uruguay. It houses a collection of work that spans from colonial art to more contemporary pieces. Though it does have an impressive amount of paintings, the Museo also is home to carvings, sculpture and documents. Works from famous Uruguayan artists like Carlos Gonzalez and Juan Manuel Blanes are on display. The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. Admission is free.

Museo Municipal de Bellas Artes
Avenida Millan 4015,

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