Sunday, 3 June 2018

URUGUAY: Montevideo, Has Longest Carnival In The World And Most Gay-friendly Metropolis In Latin America.

Montevideo is the fancy capital city of Uruguay, a country in South America. It is situated on the east bank of the Rio de la Plata and is the southernmost capital city in South America.

Montevideo is the capital and largest city of Uruguay. According to the 2011 census, the city proper has a population of 1,319,108,about one-third of the country's total population in an area of 201 square kilometres (78 sq mi).

The southernmost capital city in the Americas, Montevideo is situated on the southern coast of the country, on the northeastern bank of the Río de la Plata.

The city was established in 1724 by a Spanish soldier, Bruno Mauricio de Zabala, as a strategic move amidst the Spanish-Portuguese dispute over the platine region. It was also under brief British rule in 1807.

Montevideo is the seat of the administrative headquarters of Mercosur and ALADI, Latin America’s leading trade blocs, a position that entailed comparisons to the role of Brussels in Europe.

The 2017 Mercer's report on quality of life, rated Montevideo first in Latin America, a rank the city has consistently held since 2005.

Montevideo is the 19th largest city economy in the continent and 9th highest income earner among major cities. In 2018, it has a GDP of $45.8 billion, with a per capita of $26,700.

In 2016, it was classified as a beta global city ranking eighth in Latin America and 78th in the world.

Montevideo hosted every match during the first FIFA World Cup, in 1930. Described as a vibrant, eclectic place with a rich cultural life and a thriving tech center and entrepreneurial culture.

Montevideo ranked eighth in Latin America on the 2013 MasterCard Global Destination Cities Index. In 2014, it was also regarded as the fifth most gay-friendly metropolis in the world, first in Latin America.

It is the hub of commerce and higher education in Uruguay as well as its chief port. The city is also the financial and cultural hub of a larger metropolitan area, with a population of around 2 million.

Montevideo is situated on the north shore of the Rio de la Plata, the arm of the Atlantic Ocean that separates the south coast of Uruguay from the north coast of Argentina; Buenos Aires lies 230 kilometres (140 mi) west on the Argentine side.

The Santa Lucia River forms a natural border between Montevideo and San Jose Department to its west. To the city's north and east is Canelones Department, with the stream of Carrasco forming the eastern natural border.

The coastline forming the city's southern border is interspersed with rocky protrusions and sandy beaches.

The Bay of Montevideo forms a natural harbour, the nation's largest and one of the largest in the Southern Cone, and the finest natural port in the region, functioning as a crucial component of the Uruguayan economy and foreign trade.

Various streams criss-cross the town and empty into the Bay of Montevideo. The coastline and rivers are heavily polluted and of high salinity.

The city has an average elevation of 43 metres (141 ft). Its highest elevations are two hills: the Cerro de Montevideo and the Cerro de la Victoria, with the highest point, the peak of Cerro de Montevideo, crowned by a fortress, the Fortaleza del Cerro at a height of 134 metres (440 ft).

Closest cities by road are Las Piedras to the north and the so-called Ciudad de la Costa a conglomeration of coastal towns to the east, both in the range of 20 to 25 kilometres (16 mi) from the city center.

The approximate distances to the neighbouring department capitals by road are, 90 kilometres (56 mi) to San Jose de Mayo or San Jose Department and 46 kilometres (29 mi) to Canelones or Canelones Department.

Montevideo enjoys a mild humid subtropical climate. The city has cool winters in June to September, hot summers in December to March and volatile springs in October and November.

There are numerous thunderstorms but no tropical cyclones. Rainfall is regular and evenly spread throughout the year, reaching around 950 millimetres (37 in).

Winters are generally wet, windy and overcast, while summers are hot and humid with relatively little wind.

In winter there are bursts of icy and relatively dry winds and continental polar air masses, giving an unpleasant chilly feeling to the everyday life of the city.

In the summer, a moderate wind often blows from the sea in the evenings which has a pleasant cooling effect on the city, in contrast to the unbearable summer heat of Buenos Aires.

Montevideo has an annual average temperature of 16.7 °C (62.1 °F). The lowest recorded temperature is −5.6 °C (21.9 °F) while the highest is 42.8 °C (109.0 °F).

Sleet is a frequent winter occurrence. Snowfall is extremely rare: flurries have been recorded only four times but with no accumulation, the last one on 13 July 1930 during the inaugural match of the World Cup.

The other three snowfalls were in 1850, 1853 and 1917; the alleged 1980 Carrasco snowfall was actually a hailstorm.

The architecture of Montevideo ranges from Neoclassical buildings such as the Montevideo Metropolitan Cathedral to the Postmodern style of the World Trade Center Montevideo or the 158-metre (518 ft) ANTEL Telecommunication Tower, the tallest skyscraper in the country.

The Along with the Telecommunications Tower, the Palacio Salvo dominates the skyline of the Bay of Montevideo. The building facades in the Old Town reflect the city's extensive European immigration, displaying the influence of old European architecture.

Notable government buildings include the Legislative Palace, the City Hall, Estévez Palace and the Executive Tower. The most notable sports stadium is the Estadio Centenario within Parque Batlle.

Parque Batlle, Parque Rodo and Parque Prado are Montevideo's three great parks.

The Pocitos district, near the beach of the same name, has many homes built by Bello and Reboratti between 1920 and 1940, with a mixture of styles.

Other landmarks in Pocitos are the Edificio Panamericano designed by Raul Sichero, and the Positano and El Pilar designed by Adolfo Sommer Smith and Luis Garcia Pardo in the 1950s and 1960s.

However, the construction boom of the 1970s and 1980s transformed the face of this neighbourhood, with a cluster of modern apartment buildings for upper and upper middle class residents.

The Palacio Legislativo in Aguada, the north of the city centre, is currently the seat of the Uruguayan Parliament. Construction started in 1904 and was sponsored by the government of President Jose Batlle y Ordonez.

It was designed by Italian architects Vittorio Meano and Gaetano Moretti, who planned the building's interior. Among the notable contributors to the project was sculptor Jose Belloni, who contributed numerous reliefs and allegorical sculptures.

World Trade Center Montevideo officially opened in 1998, although work is still ongoing as of 2010.

The complex is composed of three towers, two three-story buildings called World Trade Center Plaza and World Trade Center Avenue and a large central square called Towers Square.

World Trade Center 1 was the first building to be inaugurated, in 1998. It has 22 floors and 17,100 square metres of space. That same year the avenue and the auditorium were raised.

World Trade Center 2 was inaugurated in 2002, a twin tower of World Trade Center 1. Finally, in 2009, World Trade Center 3 and the World Trade Center Plaza and the Towers Square were inaugurated.

It is located between the avenues Luis Alberto de Herrera and 26 de Marzo and has 19 floors and 27,000 square metres (290,000 sq ft) of space.

The 6,300-square-metre (68,000 sq ft) World Trade Center Plaza is designed to be a centre of gastronomy opposite Towers Square and Bonavita St. Among the establishments on the plaza are Burger King, Walrus, Bamboo, Asia de Cuba, Gardenia Mvd, and La Claraboya Cafe.

The Towers Square, is an area of remarkable aesthetic design, intended to be a platform for the development of business activities, art exhibitions, dance and music performances and social place.

This square connects the different buildings and towers which comprise the WTC Complex and it is the main access to the complex. The square contains various works of art, notably a sculpture by renowned Uruguayan sculptor Pablo Atchugarry.

World Trade Center 4, with 40 floors and 53,500 square metres (576,000 sq ft) of space is under construction as of 2010.

Torre de las Telecomunicaciones - Telecommunications Tower or Torre Antel - Antel Tower is the 158 metres (518 ft), 37 floor headquarters of Uruguay's government-owned telecommunications company, ANTEL, and is the tallest building in the country.

It was designed by architect Carlos Ott. It is situated by the side of the Bay of Montevideo. The tower was completed by American Bridge and other design/build consortium team members on 15 March 2000.

When its construction was announced, many politicians complained about its cost US$40 million, plus US$25 million for the construction of the other 5 buildings of the Telecommunications Complex. Problems during its construction turned the original US$65 million price into US$102 million.

Ciudad Vieja was the earliest part of the city to be developed and today it constitutes a prominent barrio of southwest Montevideo.

It contains many colonial buildings and national heritage sites, but also many banks, administrative offices, museums, art galleries, cultural institutions, restaurants and night-clubs, making it vibrant with life.

Its northern coast is the main port of Uruguay, one of the few deep-draft ports in the Southern Cone of South America.

Montevideo's most important plaza is Plaza Independencia, located between Ciudad Vieja and downtown Montevideo. It starts with the Gateway of The Citadel at one end and ends at the beginning of 18 de Julio Avenue.

It is the remaining part of the wall that surrounded the oldest part of the city. Several notable buildings are located here.

The Solis Theatre is Uruguay's oldest theatre. It was built in 1856 and is currently owned by the government of Montevideo. In 1998, the government of Montevideo started a major reconstruction of the theatre, which included two US$110,000 columns designed by Philippe Starck.

The reconstruction was completed in 2004, and the theatre reopened in August of that year.The plaza is also the site of the offices of the President of Uruguay, both the Estevez Palace and the Executive Tower.

The Artigas Mausoleum is located at the centre of the plaza. Statues include that of Jose Gervasio Artigas, hero of Uruguay's independence movement; an honour guard keeps vigil at the Mausoleum.

Palacio Salvo, at the intersection of 18 de Julio Avenue and Plaza Independencia, was designed by the architect Mario Palanti and completed in 1925.

Palanti, an Italian immigrant living in Buenos Aires, used a similar design for his Palacio Barolo in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Palacio Salvo stands 100 metres (330 ft) high, including its antenna.

It is built on the former site of the Confitería La Giralda, renowned for being where Gerardo Matos Rodriguez wrote his tango La Cumparsita. Palacio Salvo was originally intended to function as a hotel but is now a mixture of offices and private residences.

Also of major note in Ciudad Vieja is the Plaza de la Constitucion or Plaza Matriz. During the first decades of Uruguayan independence this square was the main hub of city life. On the square are the Cabildo—the seat of colonial government—and the Montevideo Metropolitan Cathedral.

The cathedral is the burial place of Fructuoso Rivera, Juan Antonio Lavalleja and Venancio Flores. Another notable square is Plaza Zabala with the equestrian statue of Bruno Mauricio de Zabala.

On its south side, Palacio Taranco, once residence of the Ortiz Taranco brothers, is now the Museum of Decorative Arts. A few blocks northwest of Plaza Zabala is the Mercado del Puerto, another major tourist destination.

Parque Batlle (formerly: Parque de los Aliados, is a major public central park, located south of Avenida Italia and north of Avenue Rivera. Along with Parque Prado and Parque Rodo it is one of three large parks that dominate Montevideo.

The park and surrounding area constitute one of the 62 neighbourhoods or barrios of the city. The barrio of Parque Batlle is one of seven coastal barrios, the others being Buceo, Carrasco, Malvin, Pocitos, Punta Carretas, and Punta Gorda.

The current barrio of Parque Battle includes four former districts: Belgrano, Italiano, Villa Dolores and Batlle Park itself and borders the neighbourhoods of La Blanqueada, Tres Cruces, Pocitos and Buceo.

It has a high population density and most of its households are of medium-high- or high-income. Villa Dolores, a subdistrict of Parque Batlle, took its name from the original villa of Don Alejo Rossell y Rius and of Doña Dolores Pereira de Rossel.

On their grounds, they started a private collection of animals that became a zoological garden and was passed to the city in 1919; in 1955 the Planetarium of Montevideo was built within its premises.

Parque Batlle is named in honour of José Batlle y Ordonez, President of Uruguay from 1911 to 1915. The park was originally proposed by an Act of March 1907, which also projected wide boulevards and avenues.

French landscape architect, Carlos Thays, began the plantings in 1911. In 1918, the park was named Parque de los Aliados, following the victory of the Allies of World War I.

On 5 May 1930, after significant expansion, it was again renamed as Parque Batlle y Ordonez, in memory of the prominent politician and president, who had died in 1929. The park was designated a National Historic Monument Park in 1975.

As of 2010, the park covers an area of 60 hectares (150 acres) and is considered the lung of the Montevideo city due to the large variety of trees planted here.

The Estadio Centenario, the national football stadium, opened in 1930 for the first World Cup, and later hosted several other sporting grounds of note.

In 1934, sculptor Jose Belloni's La Carreta, a bronze monument on granite base, was installed on Avenida Lorenzo Merola near Estadio Centenario. One of several statues in the park, it depicts yoked oxen pulling a loaded wagon.

It was designated a national monument in 1976. Another statue on the same side of the park is a bronze copy of the Discobolus of Myron.

On the west side of Parque Batlle, on Artigas Boulevard, the 1938 Obelisk of Montevideo is a monument dedicated to those who created the first Constitution.

The work of sculptor Jose Luis Zorrilla de San Martin, it is a three-sided granite obelisk, 40 metres (130 ft) tall, with bronze statues on its three sides, representing Law, Liberty, and Force, respectively. It has been a National Heritage Site since 1976.

Established in 1873, the largest of Montevideo's six main public parks is the 1.06-square-kilometre (260-acre) Parque Prado. Located in the northern part of the city, the Miguelete Creek flows through the park and the neighbourhood and of the same name.

It is surrounded by the avenues Agraciada, Obes Lucas, Joaquin Suarez, Luis Alberto de Herrera and by the streets Castro and Jose Maria Reyes.

The most frequented areas of the park are the Rosedal, a public rose garden with pergolas, the Botanical Garden, the area around the Hotel del Prado, as well as the Rural del Prado, a seasonal cattle and farm animal fairground.

The Rosedal contains four pergolas, eight domes, and a fountain; its 12,000 roses were imported from France in 1910. There are several jogging paths along the Miguelete river.

The Presidential Residence is located behind the Botanical Gardens. Established in 1930, Juan Manuel Blanes Museum is situated in the Palladian villa, a National Heritage Site since 1975, and includes a Japanese garden.

The Professor Atilio Lombardo Museum and Botanical Gardens were established in 1902. The National Institute of Physical Climatology and its observatory are also in the Prado.

Parque Rodo is both a barrio or neighbourhood of Montevideo and a park which lies mostly outside the limits of the neighbourhood itself and belongs to Punta Carretas.

The name Rodó commemorates Jose Enrique Rodo, an important Uruguayan writer whose monument is in the southern side of the main park. The park was conceived as a French-style city park.

Apart from the main park area which is delimited by Sarmiento Avenue to the south, Parque Rodo includes an amusement park; the Estadio Luis Franzini, belonging to Defensor Sporting.

The front lawn of the Faculty of Engineering and a strip west of the Club de Golf de Punta Carretas that includes the Canteras - quarry del Parque Rodo, the Teatro de Verano - summer theatre and the Lago or lake del Parque Rodo.
On the east side of the main park area is the National Museum of Visual Arts. On this side, a very popular street market takes place every Sunday. On the north side is an artificial lake with a little castle housing a municipal library for children.

An area to its west is used as an open-air exhibition of photography. West of the park, across the coastal avenue Rambla Presidente Wilson, stretches Ramirez Beach.

Directly west of the main park are, and belonging to Parque Rodo barrio, is the former Parque Hotel, now called Edificio Mercosur, seat of the parliament of the members countries of the Mercosur.

During the guerilla war the Tupamaros frequently attacked buildings in this area, including the old hotel.

Fortaleza del Cerro overlooks the bay of Montevideo. An observation post at this location was first built by the Spanish in the late 18th century.

In 1802, a beacon replaced the observation post; construction of the fortress began in 1809 and was completed in 1839.It has been involved in many historical developments and has been repeatedly taken over by various sides.

In 1907, the old beacon was replaced with a stronger electric one. It has been a National Monument since 1931 and has housed a military museum since 1916. Today it is one of the tourist attractions of Montevideo.
Punta Brava lighthouse
Punta Brava Lighthouse or Faro Punta Brava, also known as Punta Carretas Lighthouse, was erected in 1876. The lighthouse is 21 metres (69 ft) high and its light reaches 15 miles (24 km) away, with a flash every ten seconds.

In 1962, the lighthouse became electric. The lighthouse is important for guiding boats into the Banco Ingles Buceo Port or the entrance of the Santa Lucía River.

The Rambla is an avenue that goes along the entire coastline of Montevideo. The literal meaning of the Spanish word rambla is avenue or watercourse, but in the Americas it is mostly used as coastal avenue.

Since all the southern departments of Uruguay border either the Río de la Plata or the Atlantic Ocean, they all have ramblas as well.

As an integral part of Montevidean identity, the Rambla has been included by Uruguay in the Indicative List of World Heritage sites, though it has not received this status.

Previously, the entire Rambla was called Rambla Naciones Unidas or United Nations, but in recent times different names have been given to specific parts of it.

The Rambla is a very important site for recreation and leisure in Montevideo. Every day, a large number of people go there to take long strolls, jog, bicycle, roller skate, fish and even—in a special area—skateboard.

Its 27-kilometre (17 mi) length makes it one of the longest esplanades in the world.

Montevideo is noted for its beaches, which are particularly important because 60% of the population spends the summer in the city. Its best known beaches are Ramirez, Pocitos, Carrasco, Buceo and Malvin.

Further east and west are other beaches including the Colorada, Punta Espinillo, Punta Yeguas, Zabala and Santa Catarina.

There are five large cemeteries in Montevideo, all administered by the Funebre y Necropolis annex of the Intendencia of Montevideo.

The largest cemetery is the Cementerio del Norte, located in the northern-central part of the city. The Central Cemetery or Cementerio central, located in Barrio Sur in the southern area of the city, is one of Uruguay's main cemeteries.

It was one of the first cemeteries in contrast to church graveyards in the country, founded in 1835 in a time where burials were still carried out by the Catholic Church.

It is the burial place of many of the most famous Uruguayans, such as Eduardo Acevedo, Delmira Agustini, Luis Batlle Berres, Jose Batlle y Ordonez, Juan Manuel Blanes, François Ducasse, father of Comte de Lautreamont (Isidore Ducasse), Luis Alberto de Herrera, Benito Nardone, Jose Enrique Rodo, and Juan Zorrilla de San Martin.

The other large cemeteries are the Cementerio del Buceo, Cementerio del Cerro, and Cementerio Paso Molino. The British Cemetery Montevideo or Cementerio Britanico is another of the oldest cemeteries in Uruguay, located in the Buceo neighborhood.

Many noblemen and eminent persons are buried there. The cemetery originated when the Englishman Mr. Thomas Samuel Hood purchased a plot of land in the name of the English residents in 1828.

However, in 1884 the government compensated the British by moving the cemetery to Buceo to accommodate city growth.

A section of the cemetery, known as British Cemetery Montevideo Soldiers and Sailors, contains the graves of quite a number of sailors of different nationalities, although the majority are of British descent.

One United States Marine, Henry de Costa, is buried here.

In 1860, Montevideo had 57,913 inhabitants including a number of people of African origin who had been brought as slaves and had gained their freedom around the middle of the century.

By 1880, the population had quadrupled, mainly because of the great European immigration. In 1908, its population had grown massively to 309,331 inhabitants.

In the course of the 20th century the city continued to receive large numbers of European immigrants, especially Spanish and Italian, followed by French, Germans or Dutch, English or Irish, Polish, Greek, Hungarians, Russians, Croats, Lebanese, Armenians, and Jews of various origins.

The last wave of immigrants occurred between 1945 and 1955.

According to the census survey carried out between 15 June and 31 July 2004, Montevideo had a population of 1,325,968 persons, compared to Uruguay's total population of 3,241,003.

The female population was 707,697 (53.4%) while the male population accounted for 618,271 (46.6%). The population had declined since the previous census carried out in 1996, with an average annual growth rate of −1.5 per thousand.

Continual decline has been documented since the census period of 1975–1985, which showed a rate of −5.6 per thousand. The decrease is due in large part to lowered fertility, partly offset by mortality, and to a smaller degree in migration.

The birth rate declined by 19% from 1996 17 per thousand to 2004 13.8 per thousand. Similarly, the total fertility rate (TFR) declined from 2.24 in 1996 to 1.79 in 2004.

However, mortality continued to fall with life expectancy at birth for both sexes increasing by 1.73 years.

In the census of 2011, Montevideo had a population of 1,319,108.

In recent years Montevideo nightlife has moved to Parque Rodo, where a large concentration of buildings cater for the recreational interests of young people during the night time.

Under a presidential decree of 1 March 2006 smoking is prohibited in any public place with roofing, and there is a prohibition on the sale of alcohol in certain businesses from 21.00 to 9.00.

Montevideo has a very rich architectural heritage and an impressive number of writers, artists, and musicians. Uruguayan tango is a unique form of dance that originated in the neighborhoods of Montevideo towards the end of the 1800s.

Tango, candombe and murga are the three main styles of music in this city. The city is also the centre of the cinema of Uruguay, which includes commercial, documentary and experimental films.

There are two movie theatre companies running seven cinemas, around ten independent ones and four art film cinemas in the city. The theatre of Uruguay is admired inside and outside Uruguayan borders.

The Solis Theatre is the most prominent theatre in Uruguay and the oldest in South America. There are several notable theatrical companies and thousands of professional actors and amateurs.

Montevideo playwrights produce dozens of works each year; of major note are Mauricio Rosencof, Ana Magnabosco and Ricardo Prieto.

The daily newspaper El País sponsors the Virtual Museum of contemporary Uruguayan art. The director and curator of the Museum presents exhibitions in virtual spaces, supplemented by information, biographies, texts in English and Spanish.

In the early 1970s but 1973, to be particular when the military junta took over power in Uruguay, art suffered in Montevideo.

The art studios went into protest mode, with Rimer Cardillo, one of the country's leading artists, making the National Institute of Fine Arts, Montevideo a hotbed of resistance.

This resulted in the military junta coming down heavily on artists by closing the Fine Art Institute and carting away all the presses and other studio equipment.

Consequently, the learning of fine arts was only in private studios run by people who had been let out of jail, in works of printing and on paper and also painting and sculpture. It resumed much later.

A Cultural Centre of Spain, as well as Asturian and cultural centres, testify to Montevideo's considerable Spanish heritage. Montevideo also has important museums including Museo Torres Garcia, Museo Jose Gurvich, Museo Nacional de Artes Visuales and Museo Juan Manuel Blanes etc.

The Montevideo Cabildo was the seat of government during the colonial times of the Viceroyalty of the Rio de la Plata. It is located in front of Constitution Square, in Ciudad Vieja.

Built between 1804 and 1869 in Neoclassical style, with a series of Doric and Ionic columns, it became a National Heritage Site in 1975. In 1958, the Municipal Historic Museum and Archive was inaugurated here.

It features three permanent city museum exhibitions, as well as temporary art exhibitions, cultural events, seminars, symposiums and forums.

The Palacio Taranco is located in front of the Plaza Zabala, in the heart of Ciudad Vieja.

It was erected in the early 20th century as the residence of the Ortiz Taranco brothers on the ruins of Montevideo's first theatre of 1793, during a period in which the architectural style was influenced by French architecture.

The palace was designed by French architects Charles Louis Girault and Jules Chifflot Leon who also designed the Petit Palais and the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.

It passed to the city from the heirs of the Tarancos in 1943, along with its precious collection of Uruguayan furniture and draperies and was deemed by the city as an ideal place for a museum.

In 1972 it became the Museum of Decorative Arts of Montevideo and in 1975 it became a National Heritage Site.

The Decorative Arts Museum has an important collection of European paintings and decorative arts, ancient Greek and Roman art and Islamic ceramics of the 10th–18th century from the area of present-day Iran. The palace is often used as a meeting place by the Uruguayan government.


The National History Museum of Montevideo is located in the historical residence of General Fructuoso Rivera. It exhibits artifacts related to the history of Uruguay.

In a process begun in 1998, the National Museum of Natural History (1837) and the National Museum of Anthropology (1981), merged in 2001, becoming the National Museum of Natural History and Anthropology.

In July 2009, the two institutions again became independent. The Historical Museum has annexed eight historical houses in the city, five of which are located in the Ciudad Vieja.

One of them, on the same block with the main building, is the historic residence of Antonio Montero, which houses the Museo Romantico.

The Museo Torres Garcia is located in the Old Town, and exhibits Joaquin Torres Garcia's unusual portraits of historical icons and cubist paintings akin to those of Picasso and Braque.

The museum was established by Manolita Pina Torres, the widow of Torres Garcia, after his death in 1949.

She set up the Garcia Torres Foundation, a private non-profit organization that organizes the paintings, drawings, original writings, archives, objects and furniture designed by the painter as well as the photographs, magazines and publications related to him.

There are several other important art museums in Montevideo. The National Museum of Visual Arts in Parque Rodo has Uruguay's largest collection of paintings.

The Juan Manuel Blanes Museum was founded in 1930, the 100th anniversary of the first Constitution of Uruguay, significant with regard to the fact that Juan Manuel Blanes painted Uruguayan patriotic themes.

In back of the museum is a beautiful Japanese Garden with a pond where there are over a hundred carp.

The Museo de Historia del Arte, located in the Palacio Municipal, features replicas of ancient monuments and exhibits a varied collection of artifacts from Egypt, Mesopotamia, Persia, Greece, Rome and Native American cultures including local finds of the pre-Columbian period.

The Museo Municipal Precolombino y Colonial, in the Ciudad Vieja, has preserved collections of the archaeological finds from excavations carried out by Uruguayan archaeologist Antonio Taddei.

These antiquaries are exhibits of pre-Columbian art of Latin America, painting and sculpture from the 17th and 18th century mostly from Mexico, Peru and Brazil.

The Museo de Arte Contempo has small but impressive exhibits of modern Uruguayan painting and sculpture.

There are also other types of museums in the city. The Museo del Gaucho y de la Moneda, located in the Centro, has distinctive displays of the historical culture of Uruguay's gauchos, their horse gear, silver work and mate (tea), gourds, and bombillas (drinking straws) in odd designs.

The Museo Naval, is located on the eastern waterfront in Buceo and offers exhibits depicting the maritime history of Uruguay. The Museo del Automóvil, belonging to the Automobile Club of Uruguay, has a rich collection of vintage cars which includes a 1910 Hupmobile.

The Museo y Parque Fernando Garcia in Carrasco, a transport and automobile museum, includes old horse carriages and some early automobiles.

The Castillo Pittamiglio, with an unusual façade, highlights the eccentric legacy of Humberto Pittamiglio, local alchemist and architect.

Uruguay has the longest carnival in the world

As the capital of Uruguay, Montevideo is home to a number of festivals and carnivals including a Gaucho festival when people ride through the streets on horseback in traditional gaucho gear.

The major annual festival is the annual Montevideo Carnaval which is part of the national festival of Carnival Week, celebrated throughout Uruguay, with central activities in the capital, Montevideo.

Officially, the public holiday lasts for two days on Carnival Monday and Shrove Tuesday preceding Ash Wednesday, but due to the prominence of the festival, most shops and businesses close for the entire week.

During carnival there are many open-air stage performances and competitions and the streets and houses are vibrantly decorated. Tablados or popular scenes, both fixed and movable, are erected in the whole city.

Notable displays include Desfile de las Llamadas or Parade of the Calls, which is a grand united parade held on the south part of downtown, where it used to be a common ritual back in the early 20th century.

Due to the scale of the festival, preparation begins as early as December with an election of the zonal beauty queens to appear in the carnival.
Uruguayan Carnival
As the capital of Uruguay, Montevideo is home to a number of festivals and carnivals including a Gaucho festival when people ride through the streets on horseback in traditional gaucho gear.

The major annual festival is the annual Montevideo Carnaval which is part of the national festival of Carnival Week, celebrated throughout Uruguay, with central activities in the capital, Montevideo.

Officially, the public holiday lasts for two days on Carnival Monday and Shrove Tuesday preceding Ash Wednesday, but due to the prominence of the festival, most shops and businesses close for the entire week.

During carnival there are many open-air stage performances and competitions and the streets and houses are vibrantly decorated. Tablados or popular scenes, both fixed and movable, are erected in the whole city.

Notable displays include Desfile de las Llamadas or Parade of the Calls, which is a grand united parade held on the south part of downtown, where it used to be a common ritual back in the early 20th century.

Due to the scale of the festival, preparation begins as early as December with an election of the zonal beauty queens to appear in the carnival.

Uruguayan Carnival is a popular festival that takes place every year in Uruguay from mid January to late February. It is related to candombe, Murga and tablados.

It has evolved into a dance parade in which different comparsas play the drums and dance to the music at Desfile Innaugural del Carnaval and Llamadas parade.

The biggest carnival celebrations are in the capital Montevideo and can last up to 40 days and it involves a series of cultural events such as dance parades in the streets, street stages called tablados and an artistic contest in the Teatro de Verano or Summer Theatre in Montevideo.

Carnival in Montevideo is very different from carnival celebrations in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.

The background to the Uruguayan Carnival come in Europe, where in different contexts, the celebration of the harvest or a religious festival, served as a space for meeting people, creating a space for individual and collective freedom.

Already on Uruguayan soil, in colonial times; the days of Carnival and Christmas and New Year, Montevideans black slaves were covered with bright robes and gaudy and went outside to go to the city walls, whose feet were allowed to sing their songs and perform dances.

Some common practices carnival in Europe, bran and flour shed, shed water syringes, throw eggs, oranges, or other objects were imported into Uruguay.

The importance of some of these practices by the first inhabitants of the city of Montevideo led to the carnival celebrations.

According to Juan Carlos pattern, it is possible that in 1860, when two sources called Wells of the King, the van guerrillas were disseminated and conform the first carnival practices were built.

In Uruguay, las Sociedades de Negros y Lubolos, also called comparsas are a group of persons who sing and dance candombe music.

The word lubolos makes reference to the white people in blackface that dresses as black people in the past in order to take part in the dance parades during colonial times.

It consists of a group of dancers, a group of drummers named Cuerda de tambores and special characters such as La Mama Vieja, El escobero y El Gramillero

Murga is a theatical-musical gene that consists of a chorus of 14 to 17 people with murga drums. They sings songs and do some acting in between with impersonators and a mockery of events that criticizes politicians and society.

People in murgas have their faces painted and usually are in bright outfits. Lyrical content is based on a particular theme, chosen by the group, which serves to provide commentary on events in Uruguay or elsewhere over the preceding year.

Consequently, murga lends itself well to being used as a form of popular resistance. For example, during the dictatorship in Uruguay in the 1970s, groups like Araca La Cana became known for their left-wing tendencies, subversive commentary and oppositional stance.

Parodists, create funny situations called parodies, based on a well-known novel or film or even some famous character in history.

Revist are a group of people dancing and singing pop music with different lyrics about human nature and personal problems.

Escolas de Samba in Uruguay have a great tradition too, principally in places like Artigas and Montevideo. The genre of these groups are Samba with brazilian percussion, dancers and a chorus of people singing the Samba Enredo.

The main escola de samba in Montevideo was Aquarella founded by Mr. Juan de Dios Peza who lives for many years in Rio de Janeiro.

From Aquarela, many others Escolas de Samba was founded like Asabranca and Imperatriz. In 2017, Imperatriz was the winner group in the annual samba parade in Montevideo city and Barrio Rampla was the winner in Artigas city.

Church and state are officially separated since 1916 in Uruguay. The religion with most followers in Montevideo is Roman Catholicism and has been so since the foundation of the city.

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Montevideo was created as the Apostolic Vicariate of Montevideo in 1830. The vicariate was promoted to the Diocese of Montevideo on 13 July 1878.

Pope Leo XIII elevated it to the rank of a metropolitan archdiocese on 14 April 1897. The new archdiocese became the Metropolitan of the suffragan sees of Canelones, Florida, Maldonado–Punta del Este, Melo, Mercedes, Minas, Salto, San Jose de Mayo, Tacuarembo.

Montevideo is the only archdiocese in Uruguay and, as its Ordinary, the archbishop is also Primate of the Catholic Church in Uruguay.

The archdiocese's mother church and thus seat of its archbishop is Catedral de la Inmaculada Concepcion y San Felipe y Santiago. As of 2010, the current Archbishop of Montevideo is Daniel Fernando Sturla Berhouet, SDB, since his appointment on 11 February 2014.

Other religious faiths in Montevideo are Protestantism, Umbanda, Judaism, and there are many people who define themselves as Atheists and Agnostics, while others profess believing in God but without religion.

The Montevideo Metropolitan Cathedral is the main Roman Catholic church of Montevideo. It is located in Ciudad Vieja, immediately across Constitution Square from the Cabildo.

In 1740 a brick church was built on the site. In 1790, the foundation was laid for the current neoclassical structure. The church was consecrated in 1804. Bicentennial celebrations were held in 2004.

In 1897, Pope Leo XIII elevated the church to Metropolitan Cathedral status. Important ceremonies are conducted under the direction of the Archbishop of Montevideo.

Weddings and choral concerts are held here and the parish priest conducts the routine functions of the cathedral. In the 19th century, its precincts were also used as a burial place of famous people who died in the city.

For decades, the prison and the nearby parish church were the only major buildings in the neighbourhood.

Nuestra Senora del Sagrado Corazon or Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, also known as Iglesia Punta Carretas or Punta Carretas Church, was built between 1917 and 1927 in the Romanesque Revival style.

The church was originally part of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin, but is presently in the parish of the Ecclesiastic Curia. Its location is at the corner of Solano Garcia and Jose Ellauri.

It has a nave and aisles. The roof has many vaults. During the construction of the Punta Carretas Shopping complex, major cracks developed in the structure of the church as a result of differential foundation settlement.

As the capital of Uruguay, Montevideo is the economic and political centre of the country. Most of the largest and wealthiest businesses in Uruguay have their headquarters in the city.

Since the 1990s the city has undergone rapid economic development and modernization, including two of Uruguay's most important buildings—the World Trade Center Montevideo (1998), and Telecommunications Tower (2000).

The headquarters of Uruguay's government-owned telecommunications company ANTEL, increasing the city's integration into the global marketplace.

The Port of Montevideo, in the northern part of Ciudad Vieja, is one of the major ports of South America and plays a very important role in the city's economy.

The port has been growing rapidly and consistently at an average annual rate of 14 percent due to an increase in foreign trade.

The city has received a US$20 million loan from the Inter-American Development Bank to modernize the port, increase its size and efficiency, and enable lower maritime and river transportation costs.

The most important state-owned companies headquartered in Montevideo are: AFE (railways), ANCAP (Energy), Administracion Nacional de Puertos (Ports), ANTEL (telecommunications), BHU (savings and loan), BROU (bank) BSE (insurance), OSE (water & sewage), UTE (electricity).

These companies operate under public law, using a legal entity defined in the Uruguayan Constitution called Ente Autonomo or autonomous entity.

The government also owns part of other companies operating under private law, such as those owned wholly or partially by the CND (National Development Corporation).

Banking has traditionally been one of the strongest service export sectors in Uruguay: the country was once dubbed the Switzerland of America, mainly for its banking sector and stability, although that stability has been threatened in the 21st century by the recent global economic climate.

The largest bank in Uruguay is Banco Republica (BROU), based in Montevideo. Almost 20 private banks, most of them branches of international banks, operate in the country (Banco Santander, ABN AMRO, Citibank, among others).

There are also a myriad of brokers and financial-services bureaus, among them Ficus Capital, Galfin Sociedad de Bolsa, Europa Sociedad de Bolsa, Darío Cukier, GBU, Hordenana & Asociados Sociedad de Bolsa, etc.

Tourism accounts for much of Uruguay's economy. Tourism in Montevideo is centered in the Ciudad Vieja area, which includes the city's oldest buildings.

Several museums, art galleries, and nightclubs, with Sarandí Street and the Mercado del Puerto being the most frequented venues of the old city.

On the edge of Ciudad Vieja, Plaza Independencia is surrounded by many sights, including the Solís Theatre and the Palacio Salvo; the plaza also constitutes one end of 18 de Julio Avenue, the city's most important tourist destination outside of Ciudad Vieja.

Apart from being a shopping street, the avenue is noted for its Art Deco buildings, three important public squares, the Gaucho Museum, the Palacio Municipal and many other sights.

The avenue leads to the Obelisk of Montevideo; beyond that is Parque Batlle, which along with the Parque Prado is another important tourist destination.

Along the coast, the Fortaleza del Cerro, the Rambla the coastal avenue, 13 kilometres (8.1 mi) of sandy beaches, and Punta Gorda attract many tourists, as do the Barrio Sur and Palermo barrios.

The Ministry of Tourism offers a two-and-a-half-hour city tour and the Montevideo Tourist Guide Association offers guided tours in English, Italian, Portuguese and German. Apart from these, many private companies offer organized city tours.

Most tourists to the city come from Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Europe, with the number of visitors from elsewhere in Latin America and from the United States growing every year.

Thanks to an increasing number of international airline arrivals at Carrasco International Airport as well as luxury cruises that arrive into the port of Montevideo that often participate on The Wine Experience.

Montevideo has over 50 hotels, mostly located within the downtown area or along the beachfront of the Rambla de Montevideo.

The old Hotel Carrasco, established around 1930 and a landmark of luxury for decades, has been renovated by Sofitel and re-opened in March 2013. The hotel has 93 rooms and 23 suites, a Spa, a large casino, restaurant, bar, library and cafe.

Other hotels are located in colonial buildings, such as the Hotel Palacio and boutique hotels, especially away from the downtown area, retain a colonial feel. One such hotel is Belmont House established 1995, located on the Avenida Rivera in Carrasco.

It is set amidst gardens and has 24 rooms and suites and is served by the Restaurant Allegro.Montevideo is the heartland of retailing in Uruguay.

The city has become the principal centre of business and real estate, including many expensive buildings and modern towers for residences and offices, surrounded by extensive green spaces.

In 1985, the first shopping centre in Rio de la Plata, Montevideo Shopping was built. In 1994, with building of three more shopping complexes such as the Shopping Tres Cruces, Portones Shopping, and Punta Carretas Shopping, the business map of the city changed dramatically.

The creation of shopping complexes brought a major change in the habits of the people of Montevideo. Global firms such as McDonald's and Burger King etc. are firmly established in Montevideo.

Apart from the big shopping complexes, the main retailing venues of the city are: most of 18 de Julio Avenue in the Centro and Cordon barrios, a length of Agraciada Avenue in the Paso de Molino area of Belvedere.

Carrasco International Airport is about 15 km east of the city center, in the suburb of Carrasco in the department of Canelones. The airport is linked to the city center via major four-lane divided arterial roads.

Route 101 the national highway running by the airport, terminates at a roundabout where it connects to Avenida de las Americas, which in turn connects to Avenida Italia, which runs all the way to Centro.

People used to complain all the time about Carrasco's dilapidated and overcrowded old terminal. In 2009, Carrasco Airport opened a beautiful new terminal and expanded to eight gates, four jetways, four remote parking spots.

Unfortunately, to pay for the $134 million terminal, the government sold a lot of bonds backed by a USD $40, $19 for flights to Buenos Aires, airport fee charged to all departing travelers.

Based on where you are from, some airlines already include this fee in the price of the ticket in the United States it is mandatory, but if your airline did not already charge you the fee, you will be required to go to the airport fee counter, next to the check-in counters and pay the fee before you can leave the country.

You should be able to look at a fare breakdown of your ticket to see if this fee has been included, look for code WU in the tax lines.

Buses depart right outside the airport to Terminal Tres Cruces, just north of many major sites downtown easily walkable to hotels.

Airport transfer by bus costs UYU56. Catch any bus that says Montevideo just outside the departure doors at the post marked bus.

Once aboard a bus, keep your eye out for the Tres Cruces bus terminal if you intend to get off here, because the bus doesn't actually stop in the terminal, but just outside. If you are heading to/from Punta Carretas take the DM1 bus.

By remise Rate from airport to Downtown around UYS 800/950 (Uruguayan Pesos) or USD 40/45 (Us dollars). The airport taxi to the center costs UYU1500 or USD70; metered and prepaid prices are about the same as of September 2012. Payment in USD is possible, but using UYU works out to be about 10% cheaper.

During weekdays one can take the normal radio taxi from the city to the airport for around 800 UYU, but be careful because some cab charge extra for carrying his bag and the other problem that the vehicles are small because using a security screen between the front and back .

Montevideo is connected to Buenos Aires by a straight ferry service operated by Buquebus, 2h, one-way tickets sold for around 2.000 ARS (107 USD) as of December 2017. The ferry arrives in the Ciudad Vieja district of Montevideo, situated very close to downtown.

Much cheaper is to take a combination of bus+ferry using the cities of Colonia, Nueva Palmira or Carmelo as port of call - the option through Carmelo operated by Cacciola, one-way, sold for 650 ARS (35 USD) as of December 2017.

Check the section by boat on the Buenos Aires page for detailed information.

It should be noted that doing the route Montevideo-Colonia-Buenosa Aires independently is easy and hassle free.

High-season prices for the 1h express service between Buenos Aires and Colonia retail for around 1.000 ARS (54 USD), but if you book well in advance via internet, you can get it for around 500 UYU.

Once in Colonia, the bus terminal is located besides the ferry terminal and there are buses to Montevideo Tres Cruces terminal every hour - 270 UYU or 10 USD, 2h30 directo/express service and 3h parador/normal service.

Colonia has a cute old town at walking distance from the bus&ferry terminal that can be comfortably visited in a couple of hours.

Bus to Salto - 6 hour direct transfer is 640 pesos with Agencia Central SA - several departures throughout the day/night.

Bus to Porto Alegre - a trip of about 12 hours, operated by two companies, EGA amd TTL, 2.814 UYU or 98 USD, departures every day about 8 pm and arriving at 8 a.m

Bus to Sao Paulo - a 28 hour trip leaving every Sunday, serving cities like Florianopolis and Curitiba on the way, operated by EGA.

Bus to Santiago de Chile - a 27 hour trip leaving every Monday, operated by EGA.

Bus to Cordoba -about 12 hour trip leaving daily, operated by EGA

Bus to Asuncion -a 26 hour trip leaving four times a week, operated by EGA.

Bus to Colonia del Sacramento. Departures every hour, operated by two companies: COT and TURIL. There are two services: Directo, no stops, time travel of 150 min and Parador stopping in all towns on the way, taking over 3 hours.

Bus to Punta del Este. Departures every hour, operated by COP and COT, taking about 2 hours of travel. Most services are direct, but some make a stop at Piriapolis.

For those leaving from Porto Alegre, Brazil, there are two options: one that enters Uruguay via Chuí and another via Jaguarao. For both, you start by taking the route BR-116 up to Pelotas.

Next, if you want to visit Chui, the southernmost city of Brazil, or the Santa Teresa Fortress or even see the beautiful beaches of the coast of Uruguay, then, at Pelotas, take the route BR-392 to Rio Grande and next the route BR-471 all the way to Chui.

Takes about 6 hours and 30 minutes to go from Porto Alegre to Chui. On June 6th of 2010 there were 5 tolls between those cities, a total of R$ 34.60 it's important to note that they only accept Brazilian Real.

Around 30 minutes after crossing the border, you can visit the Santa Teresa Fortress. An option is to stay a night at Punta del Diablo, in case you are too tired to keep driving to Montevideo.

From Chui to Montevideo, just stay in route 9. Takes about 4 hours and 30 minutes. Again, there are 3 tolls between Chui and Montevideo, each cost UYU 60.00.

In this case, they do accept foreign money. However, it's strongly recommended that you pay in Uruguay Pesos, as they charge a lot more if you pay in Real or Dolar.

If you want the fastest route to Montevideo about 2 hours shorter than the first one, you should cross the border at Jaguarao. To reach this city, just stay in route BR-116. After that, take route 8 to Montevideo.

Montevideo is not a large city and it boasts a very efficient public transportation system so getting around is not difficult at all.

If you are not bashful about your Spanish, feel free to ask people which bus route you need to take to get to your destination as it can be the most effective and cheap option UYU $33.

Alternatively if you know some Spanish there are two websites similar to Google Maps that are useful: Cómo ir and MontevideoBus. In addition there are both iPhone (Bondi) and Android (SoloBus) apps to help navigate the bus system.

It is useful to know that if you choose to ride a bus, upon boarding you will pay either the driver or the assistant who sits on the right-hand side of the bus door-side a few seats from the entrance.

There is a small device that will dispense your receipt, make sure you hold on to it for the duration of your ride as sometimes company supervisors board buses checking for these receipts, making sure no one is riding unauthorized.

If you are unsure where to get off you can always ask the driver or assistant to let you know when your stop is coming up and they'll be happy to oblige.

Just try to remain visible so they can tell you, though if the bus gets full and you've moved to the back they'll yell out the street name.

It is also important to note that you do not need to have the exact fare as the driver or the assistant carry change. Of course, expect disgruntlement if you pay with a large bill.

The city's central terminal is called Tres Cruces. Aside from being a full-fledged mall, it sports companies with fully-equipped tour buses that can take you anywhere in Uruguay and even into neighboring countries.

Expect UYU $376.00 one-way to Colonia, about 2 to 3 hours. Efficient and on time. All destinations, timetables and hours are available online.

Any bus from the airport marked Montevideo will reach Tres Cruces in about half an hour and cost 56 pesos. It helps to ask the bus driver to inform you when to get off because the Tres Cruces terminal building is rather nondescript from some sides and you may miss it.

You can use a Remise a bit like a taxi but more professional and you can ask the company to send you a driver in your language, for example: you can rent it for an hour and the cost is approximately U$S16.

Taxis are plentiful but not too cheap as gasoline is expensive in Uruguay. It helps to know a little Spanish. A ten-minute cab ride costs about UYU100.

Taxis are metered and upon the end of your ride you are shown a chart depicting distance and cost, though on some vehicles this chart will be on the window between you and the driver. Generally there are two fare schedules.

The first is for Monday-Saturday from morning to mid-evening. The second fee schedule is for Sundays and late at night, and is slightly more expensive.

Tipping is not expected, but you might round up to an even number to be polite. It is also not uncommon to sit on the front.

Car rental is cheaper if booked ahead but be aware that places like the airport and the ferry terminal charge higher rates than the same agencies in other locations around the city.

A few phone calls and a cheap taxi ride to a location other than the air or sea ports will save you half the rate for the same car at the same company.

Driving in Montevideo is not too difficult, especially for those visitors from Europe or developing countries that lack strict lane enforcement and have lots of roundabouts.

Visitors from countries with few roundabouts and strict lane enforcement, like the United States, will find it baffling at first.

Road traffic in Montevideo is amazingly light outside of rush hour, and even during rush hour is relatively good compared to, say, North American cities of similar size.

It is not too hard to find parking in most of Montevideo. Indeed, if you do not see a Reservado sign, or red and white stripes or red paint on the curb, you can safely assume that one is allowed to park at any particular curb.

The only major obstacle for visitors is that from Monday to Friday, from 10 am to 6 pm, there is a Estacionmento Tarifa parking management system in place in much of the Ciudad Vieja and Centro.

To pay the tarifa for parking look for or ask for the closest Abitab office and make sure you know the number of your licenced plate.

As of early 2016, rates in Plaza Independencia - downtown/Ciudad Vieja are roughly the equivalent of US$1 per hour. You can pay in UY$ or US$ with not much difference given the very small amounts.

Montevideo is not a large city, and many of the sites can be seen in several days as they are clustered together.

Ciudad Vieja — Montevideo's Old Town. Enter through the portal called Puerta de la Ciudadela at one end of Plaza de Independencia.

Plaza de Independencia — The square at the end of 18 de Julio Ave., with the latter being the main commercial artery of the city.

Palacio Salvo — Next to Plaza Independencia. Once South America's highest building, the Palacio Salvo still dominates Montevideo's skyline.

Mausoleo de Artigas — This large monument in the Plaza de Independencia pays tribute to José Gervasio Artigas, one of the heroes of the Uruguayan Independence.

Under the monument is the mausoleum, which is open on the weekends. It contains an urn with his ashes and two honor guards keeping watch.

National History Museum — Spread between five old historic houses, holds important bits of the country's history. No entrance fee.

The sexual diversity monument, erected in 2005, is located on Policia Vieja St., between Plaza de la Constitucion and Plaza Independencia. It reads Honouring diversity is honouring life; Montevideo is for the respect of all identities and sexual orientations.

It's South America's first monument dedicated to sexual diversity. Other places of interest to gay people include the Edificio Liberaij, where two gay Argentine bank robbers featured in the 1998 movie Plata Quemada died in 1965.

El Dia del Patrimonio, — On the last Saturday of September or beginning of October, all the museums and historical places of interest around the Plaza de Independencia open for free to the public.

There is also a large Murga, or a traditional South American parade in which all the Uruguayan political parties take part.

MAPI - museum of indigenous art and Uruguayan archaeology.

Museo Torres Garcia - displaying works of this most prominent Uruguayan artist.

Barrio Reus - a small neighbourhood with charming coulorful houses.

Palacio Legislativo - national parliament, the first one in South America and an iconic symbol of Uruguay´s long lasting democracy.

Museum of Natural History - built in the form of a mosque and located at the beach promenade.

Museo del Carnaval

MNAV - national museum of modern Uruguayan art.

Fortaleza General Artigas at Cerro - it now houses a collection of armoury. It is the original fort from which Montevideo originated.

Palacio Taranco - seat of the Museum of Decorative Art.

Mercado del Puerto - this is a covered market full of restaurants and some shops selling handicrafts. The main market is open every day during lunch hours. The restaurants around the exterior offer both indoor and outdoor seating, and they remain open for dinner.

Old Sepharadi Synagogue

Teatro Solis

Nacional - not only the name of the world famous football team but also the stadium where the first game of the first World Cup Uruguay 1930 was played.

Museo Blanes - museum of early Uruguayan art from the 19th to early 20th Centuries

Tiles Museum or Museo del Azulejo - exhibiting around 3000 tiles

National Museum of Anthropology and National History

Central Cemetery - a historic cemetery with sculptures

Punta Carretas - a shopping centre located in a former prison

World Trade Centre

Parque Rodo - Montevideo's main park with numerous amusement facilities

Castillo Soneira

Pittamiglio Castle, Rambla Gandhi 633. Interesting Castle. Must pay for a 45-mins tour to enter. Better to call and check the opening hrs.

The Rambla — This waterside roadway has people biking, fishing, drinking mate, and enjoying the great views. 22 kilometers-long (13.6 miles), the Rambla goes along Montevideo's waterfront. Lovely at sunset.

La Feria Tristan Narvaja Flea Market — Spend part of Sunday morning with the locals on Tristan Narvaja Street, where vendors sell everything from t-shirts to antiques to kitchen supplies.

It's right off of 18 de Julio Ave. and the entrance is often marked by people selling puppies.

Pocitos — This barrio lies about 2 miles south-east of El Centro. The Pocitos beach runs east from Punta Trouville for about a mile.

Highrise apartments ring the beach along the Rambla, but going in-land a few blocks brings you into an older neighborhood reminiscent of San Francisco's Marina district.

Head uphill on 21 de septiembre St. from the Rambla at Punta Trouville for about 7 or 8 blocks to avenue Ellauri, turn left and walk another 4 blocks to Punta Carretas Shopping, a major shopping mall that is built on the remains of a prison (they preserved the prison gate inside the mall).

Walking — Montevideo is a relatively safe place. The city is built on a slight hill, the spine of which extends into the Rio de la Plata to create the point that was the original city Ciudad Vieja.

From the Plaza de la Independencia, the main street that extends east from the plaza is 18 de Julio Ave. El Centro downtown is in this area and there will be lots of shops and places to change money.

You can walk around without worry almost anywhere, and there are lots of side streets and areas you can explore: be aware that the port area, just off the main tourist and port terminal areas, is considered dangerous by locals as much as by the police.

Parts of the city may appear run-down, but do not confuse this with it being a bad neighborhood. Along with Buenos Aires, this is one of the few cities in South America where poverty is not overly prevalent.

That being said, there is simply not enough money in Uruguay to construct lots of new, modern buildings, so buildings are kept in use for long periods of time.

Montevideo City Tour — Regular or Private City Tour around Montevideo or visiting wineries, Punta del Este or Colonia del Sacramento.

Mercado de los Artesanos — This market, located on the corner of Paraguay and Colonia streets, is fantastic! An array of artists and craftspeople converge here to sell wares made from leather, paper, woodwork, and various textiles.

Montevideo Leather Factory, Plaza Independencia 832. This factory has a wide range of leather garments at reasonable prices, and they offer custom-made jackets tailored to your measurements in 24 hours. Opening hours: SAT till 1700hrs, SUN till 1400hrs.

Manos del Uruguay — Several locations throughout Montevideo, including one at the Punta Carretas mall. Sells woven goods and other handcrafted items - a little pricey.

Punta Carretas Shopping Mall — A large shopping mall located in a former prison where the military regime used to torture dissidents. It has several levels, a food court, cineplex and full-service dining options.

It is currently the most upscale mall in Uruguay although still small by U.S. standards and features several boutiques for international fashion brands. The Sheraton Hotel is connected to the mall.

The mall has ample parking, but because the developer had to build around the existing prison as part of the development deal, the parking garages are very confusing and difficult to navigate.

Montevideo Shopping Mall — Another large modern shopping mall in the Pocitos neighborhood of Montevideo. It has one huge parking garage which is easier to navigate then Punta Carretas, but is not quite as upscale.
Eat

The center of traditional Uruguayan food and beverage in Montevideo is the Mercado del Puerto or Port Market. A torta frita is a pan-fried cake consumed in Montevideo and throughout Uruguay.

It is generally circular, with a small cut in the centre for cooking, and is made from wheat flour, yeast, water and sugar or salt.

Beef is very important in Uruguayan cuisine and an essential part of many dishes. Montevideo has a variety of restaurants, from traditional Uruguayan cuisine to Japanese cuisine.

The not-so-big capital of a small country that is not often in the international news, and while not exactly a world center of gourmet gastronomy.

Montevideo is a city where one can eat wonderfully and relatively cheap, with plenty of local character, yet not too exotic for most tastes.

Meat. Uruguay is renowned for its meats, and Montevideo has many parrillas where they are grilled up to perfection.

Although both Uruguay and Argentina are large exporters of meat, especially beef, and their meat is renowned for its top quality, they still keep the best for themselves, while also being masters in the art of grilling it.

So, only going there can you eat the best meat and taste for yourself how outstandingly good it is. Steaks or bifes are typically served medium-rare, so if you like them well-done, be sure to specifically ask for that bien cocido.
Chivito
Chivito — This is the local sandwich, made with meat that is usually beef tenderloin, not goat as Argentines might guess from the name, slices of hard-boiled eggs, and vegetables.

It can be served al plato or on a plate, which means it is going to take a fork and knife to eat it. Like a hamburger, it is traditionally served with fries, but it is tastier, cheaper and much bigger than a hamburger.

Several guidebooks call the chivito a cholesterol bomb. After eating one or two of these delicious monsters, you will begin to understand why so many elderly Uruguayans have pot bellies but not from eating at McDonald's.

Marcos Chivito is one of the best places in Montevideo to get these tasty treats, as well as La Mole, and some Carritos. An excellent choice is to try chivitos in Bar San Rafael.

Milanesa — similar to Wiener Schnitzel, this is a common meat dish in most of South America, including Uruguay. It consists of a thin slice of breaded beef although chicken and fish versions also exist.

Each slice is dipped into beaten eggs, seasoned with salt, and other condiments according to the cook's taste like parsley and garlic. Each slice is then dipped in breadcrumbs or occasionally flour and shallow-fried in oil, one at a time.

Some people prefer to use very little oil and then bake them in the oven as a healthier alternative. Sometimes it may include a fried egg on top. A popular variation is the milanesa a la napolitana.

It consists of a beef milanesa topped with ham, cheese and tomato sauce.

Fresh Pasta and Fresh Gnocchis — they are everywhere on the menus, with all types of vegetarian or meat sauces usually are cheap, filling and delicious option!

Be sure to try cappelletti Caruso, a dish whose exact origin is controversial, but definitely invented by a Uruguayan chef decades ago, consisting of cappelletti (tortellini) in a delicious mushroom cream sauce.

Desserts — In Uruguay, desserts are huge and plentiful. There is dulce de leche a kind of creamy caramel, a totally addictive threat to diabetics, coming in several versions.

Lighter, darker, softer, thicker, plain or with vanilla or other flavorings, etc. on almost everything and stores that sell nothing but caramels. Many places sell nothing but dessert, so pick the one with the best looking pastries and cakes and enjoy!

Churros — Find them for sale at the Parque Rodo. Try the sweet versions - they come with sugar on top, or filled with chocolate, dulce de leche or cream filling - or the cheese-filled ones.

Pizza — There are pizzerías all around Montevideo. Most make square pizzas, a traditional form in Uruguay. Muzzas (mozzarella) are most popular.

The local style of dough is sometimes soft and airy as bread, but still crusty, and not merely baked, but wonderfully gratinated with the excellent Uruguayan cheese.

Look for pizza places that are fullest of local customers - often, it's the simplest nondescript places that serve the best pizza, and it can be really, really good!

Faina — It's a mixture of chickpea flour and milk, which is baked in the pizza oven. Quality is varible among pizzerías, most delicious is the thin or de orilla from the edge part which is crunchier!

Cheese — Yes, just cheese. Uruguay has a traditional and strong dairy industry, and although the varieties are mostly the better-known European ones, such as mozzarella, Gouda or Parmesan, quality is usually superb.

As in France, just dropping by a supermarket and buying some bread, butter and cheese can make a surprisingly cheap and delicious meal.

There are also restaurants specialized in many international cuisines, as well as some gourmet places run by talented chefs, as well as American fast food chains.

K Fe Corner of Juan Paullier and Maldonado. You will feel like in Lavapiez in Madrid, Friedrichshain in Berlin or a Melbourne back alley.

Enjoy a coffee in the afternoon or a home cooked meal, always veggie option in this unique rotiseria cultural in the hart of the city. Clothes, design, exhibition, roots, dub, dubstep, urban art. Open from 12 pm to 2 am.

Cafe Bacacay located very close to Plaza de la Independencia, right across the Teatro Solis and open all day for a coffee or a bite to eat, this cafe/restaurant offers a variety of very tasteful dishes going from traditional to more innovative cuisine. Service was excellent.

La Pasiva. This restaurant chain is found all over the city, and specializes in beer, hot dogs, and chivitos.

Le Corte. Classic restaurant but not fast food in the Ciudad Vieja, with lovely decorations and great food.

Mercado del Puerto. This touristy area houses a dozen or so restaurants. Most offer grilled meat, and you can find good paella, as well. It is usually quite busy - just find an open seat to be served.

Montecristo. Located in Pocitos, this restaurant offers innovative dishes and is housed in a castle-like building that used to be the house of an alchemist.

Sidewalk cafes. Cafes abound in the city center along the pedestrian streets heading towards the Ciudad Vieja.

Estancia Del Puerto. Featured on Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations. It's an All You Can Eat meat bar.

Cru. Considered Montevideo's finest restaurant, with a good sampling of Uruguayan New Cuisine.

Don Pepperone. With several locations around the city, a good bet for anyone seeking a taste of an American-style chain. This Italian-American themed eatery offers a wide variety of pizza as well as other pasta dishes.

Mate. Is traditional hot infusion is ubiquitous, found everywhere in Uruguay. Mate is derived from the dried eponymous herb yerba mate, which was originally used by the indigenous Guarani people from southeastern South America.

Although the word yerba means herb any herb when a Uruguayan says that, it's usually the mate herb one is talking about. Mate is traditionally brewed in a gourd and drunk directly from it with a special silver straw that also filters out the herb bits.

It is also drunk in Argentina, Paraguay, and southern Brazil. It contains a lot of caffeine and similar stimulants; so, if you're not used to it, it's advisable to avoid it in the evening.

Most locals in Montevideo prefer to drink their mate without sugar, called a mate amargo or bitter mate, though much less bitter than the name suggests. Gourds and horns are constantly being refilled with the brew from sun-up to sun-down.

There is also a much less popular toasted, milder-tasting version mate cocido that is prepared and drunk in cups just like English tea, it even comes in teabags, often sweetened.

Salus. A mineral water bottled in Uruguay. If you're a little apprehensive about drinking tap water, this is a great way to go.

Tutti Frutti. A mix of delicious freshly squeezed fruit juice with ice.

Beer is often sold in 1 liter bottles. You basically have a selection of typical lagers. The most commonly found are Patricia or Pilsen, with Zillertal also often available. You can also order a chopp, which is a draft beer and if not specified, it is normally Patricia.

Uvita. A specialty of Bar Fun Fun, a liquor drink served in a shot glass and tastes of raisins. It is a secret recipe and only served at Baar Fun Fun.

Medio y Medio — A special mix of sparkling wine and white wine made by Roldos, in the Mercado del Puerto
La Taqueria, Jose Marti. La Taqueria, situated just a few steps from Pocitos beach, offers excellent Mexican food at very reasonable prices.

Run by two friends, this is a great place to eat and drink in Montevideo among the locals. Service is excellent and English spoken as well. Try the Taco del Diablo and the mojitos.

Accomodations in Montevideo

Piedras de Afilar Art Hostel (Montevideo downtown), Andes 1261 (Esq. Soriano). Art Hostel placed at the very centre of Montevideo, + B&B, WIFI, BICYCLES, KITCHEN. Dorms from 250 Ur$ (13USD).

Boulevard Sarandi Hostel, Sarandi 405 (Esq. Zabala). New hostel open in July 2009. Clean and spacious. Breakfast, towel, Internet and Wifi included. Free use of the kitchen. Dorms from 240 Ur$.

Albergue Juvenil, Canelones 935. Nice HI-Hostel close to the center. With kitchen and internet access.

Unplugged Hostel, Luis de la Torre 930. Located in Pocitos, one of the nicest and safest neighborhoods of Montevideo, just a few blocks away from its famous coast. Dorms from US$12

Hotel Arapey, Ave Uruguy 925. Rambling art deco relic with large rooms and linens as old as the building. Private bath, fans, TVs, elevator. US$32/38 single/double.

Ciudad Vieja Hostel, Ituzaingo 1436. Located near the historical heart of the city and in the middle of Montevideo’s nightlife. Free breakfast, internet, kitchen access. Dorms from US$11.

Red Hostel, San Jose 1406. A hostel set in a renovated colonial home built in 1912. Typical hostel traffic, but very nice staff who like to hang out with their friends late at night on the hostel roof.

Splendido Hotel, Bartolome Mitre 1314. Rumor has it that this hotel was originally built by a former president at the turn of the 20th century for his mistress. The hotel is located near the Plaza de Independencia and the Teatro Solis.

Many of the best restaurants, music, bars, and sightseeing spots are literally within a few steps of the front door. Prices from US$11-38.

Pocitos Hostel, Av. Sarmiento 2641. In nearby Pocitos, a beach suburb ,is a purpose built hostel with free breakfast, internet, kitchen, fireplace, backyard and the most friendly and helpful staff.

They have bicycles for hire, don´t miss the bike ride from Pocitos to Carrasco (45 minutes) or Pocitos to Escollera, Old Town, 20 minutes. Dorms from US$ 12

The green hostel, in the heart of the old city, 25 de Mayo 288 esq. Colon. checkout: 11h. Breakfast & wifi included. Bike rental. Dorms220$ Private700$.

Live MVD Hostel, Maldonado 1790 (Bus #300 or #407 from Terminal Tres Cruces). checkin: 13:00; checkout: 11:30. This is a brand new hostel in the design district with cheap dorms and a central location.

The owners, two girls from Montevideo, are super friendly and helpful. Free breakfast with homemade bread!, free bike rental, free Wi-Fi, and an art studio you´re supposed to do a painting before you go). Very clean. English and some Portugues is spoken. USD 10.

Casa Sarandi Guesthouse, Buenos Aires 558. Intimate art-deco style inn, similar to a boutique hotel, in the Ciudad Vieja (Old City). Just three guest rooms, all with private bathrooms. Rooms are large with queen-size beds and antique furniture.

There's a cosy living room and a fully-equipped modern kitchen. The owners specialise in orienting guests to the city with a personalised check-in, handouts and daily recommendations of things to do. From 79 USD per night.

Hotel Embajador, San Jose 1212. checkout: 11:00. Nice and clean city hotel with a very good breakfast. The hotel is located parallel to Avenida 18 de Julio, hence very central.

Staff is friendly and speaks Spanish, English and some German. The hotel boasts a pool, gym, free-to-use Computers in the lobby, and free Wi-Fi on the rooms. Double from US$ 100.

Four Points Sheraton, Calle Ejido 1275. Close to one of Avenida 18 de Julio. In walking distance of Plaza Independencia and Ciudad Vieja.

Has a pool and a small gym. Rooms are quite nice, but without balconies and you can't open any windows, a shame in the summer time. Friendly staff and an excellent restaurant.

Fully Equipped Short Term Apartments, Calle 21 Septembre in Pocitos Very central and in a good neighborhood. Perfect solution if you plan to stay for several days and want to have the comfort of your own home.

Ibis Montevideo, Calle La Cumparsita 1473.. A 5-minute walk from the old town, this chain hotel has simple but comfortable rooms and is bookable over the internet.

Radisson, Plaza Independencia 759. Located heart of Montevideo's financial and commercial district. Features include a pool, gym, high-speed internet, and views of the city from the Restaurant Arcadia, located on the 25th floor.

Casa Sarandi Guesthouse, Intimate art-deco style guesthouse with just three guestrooms. All rooms are large with private bathrooms, great beds with imported linens and antique furniture.

There's a cosy living room and a fully-equipped modern kitchen. The owners specialise in orienting guests to the city with a personalised check-in, handouts and daily recommendations of things to do. Room with ensuite bathroom 89 USD per night.

Nh Columbia Hotel, Rambla Gran Bretana 473. This hotel is near the Ciudad Vieja with views of the Rambla. A modern hotel with a huge breakfast and free internet access, it has plenty of parking and a friendly staff.

Wearing or carrying items which may identify you as an affluent tourist can be a mistake. You shouldn't pack anything that you would be upset to lose.

Leave expensive jewelry, watches and other items of value at home and only carry what you need. That goes for credit cards and other documents as well.

If you have no need for them leave them behind in the hotel safe, only take what money you are likely to spend with you.

Colonia. This is a pleasant little World Heritage colonial town. A nice chance to get away from the noisy city and relax for a while. Two hours away by bus.

Punta del Este. South America's most elegant and sophisticated beach resort, bustling and frequented by the rich and famous from all over the world in summer November-February, quiet and almost deserted at other times of the year, but always beautiful.

About two hours away from Montevideo with easy access and frequent bus connections.

Piriapolis. Smaller, less famous, less sophisticated and quieter beach resort on the way to Punta del Este. One and a half hours from Montevideo.

Cabo Polonio. Secluded village on the open Atlantic coast with difficult access and no infrastructure, but outstanding beaches and an alternative lifestyle. Too far from Montevideo for a day trip.


Tourism Observer
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