Montevideo is a beautiful and green city, there are many parks, museums and art galleries, there are pedestrian streets in the historical center, and architecture from different eras, mostly colonial, has been preserved. See citypopulationreview.com for weather in Montevideo, Uruguay.
The architectural appearance of the Uruguayan capital is eclectic, the styles and traditions of the Portuguese, Spaniards and Italians, as well as different eras, are mixed here.
One of the most popular places in the city among locals and tourists is Independence Square (Plaza Independencia). All the most important architectural sights of the city are located on it, rallies, demonstrations and festivities are also held here.
One of the most notable buildings on the square is the Neoclassical Palace of Legislators. It was built by the Italians in 1904, the amount of money spent on the project was astronomical, but the investment was worth it: today it is one of the most impressive buildings in the entire city. The building is built in the form of a cube, each of the walls symbolizes the direction of the world and is decorated with corresponding frescoes, and statues of Law, Labor, Law and Science are placed in the corners. Parliamentary meetings are still held in the palace to this day, but tourists can also visit it and look at the interiors. Tours must be booked in advance.
The palace of legislators is not fenced, and young people often gather on its stairs to relax after lectures, have a bite to eat and chat – the government of the country is so open and democratic.
Palace Palacio Salvo, also located on Independence Square, is the tallest building in the country (105 meters, 27 floors), and at the time of construction in 1928 it was considered the second tallest on the entire continent. The building was designed by Italian immigrant architect Mario Palanti. He conceived the structure of the building similar to Dante’s “Divine Comedy”: the three basement floors are hell, from the first to the eighth – purgatory, and the 15-meter tower is paradise. Initially, the building was intended for hotels, but the plan did not work, and today it houses offices and private residences. At the top there is an observation deck that can be reached by a high-speed elevator.
Another striking example of colonial architecture is Estevez Palace. It was built in 1873 and is also located on Independence Square. At one time there was the residence of the President of the country, then the Museum of Presidential Gifts and its officials, and today there is a museum that houses the remains of the national hero of Uruguay, Jose Artigas.
In the center of Independence Square there is an equestrian sculpture of General Jose Artigas, who led the rebel army in the liberation war.
Montevideo Cathedral, built on the site of a small chapel in 1790, has long been the tallest building in the city and is considered one of its symbols. Now there is a crypt where famous figures of the country are buried, and the cathedral itself is accessible to tourists. There are several other beautiful churches in the city:
- Church of the Sacred Heart of Christ (Santuario Nacional del Sagrado Corazon de Jesus of the 30s of the 20th century – the center of pilgrimage for Uruguayan Catholics,
- Catholic Cathedral Iglesia Matriz (1804) – the most important among all Catholic churches in the country,
- Buddhist temple at the monastery (Buddhist Monastery).
Walking in Montevideo is pleasant in the Old Town (Ciudad vieja) – it is usually very noisy, fun, there are many small bars and cafes, street musicians perform and fairs of works by local artists are held. The central pedestrian street of the city is Sarandi, where there are many restaurants and shops, and the most popular promenade for walking is the Rambla.
The most popular art museum not only in Montevideo, but also in Uruguay is the National Museum of Fine Arts (Museo nacional de artes visuales). Works by famous artists Pablo Picasso and Pablo Serrano, as well as Uruguayan masters Rafael Barradas, Joaquin Torres and others are exhibited here. In total, the museum has about 6,000 paintings and has its own art library with 8,000 books.
Museum of Fine Arts. Juan Blanes occupies the Palladio mansion, decorated with marble and statues, which is already a work of art in itself. In this museum, you can see paintings, engravings and sculptures by Uruguayan artists, and on the adjacent territory there is the only Japanese garden in the country.
The San Gregorio de Polanco Art Museum (Museo abierto de artes visuales) is dedicated to the art of South America, one of the most unusual in the city. There are no paintings and sculptures here, but there are 60 small houses painted by artists. The houses are painted in different styles: realism, avant-garde, abstract art, etc., and from this unusual exhibition one can trace how art developed on the South American continent. By the way, the collection is constantly replenished, already with samples of contemporary art.
The National Historical Museum in Montevideo is located in the Old Town and consists of eight historical buildings (five of them are in the center). The expositions of each of the branches tell about the history of the country, and the most popular of them is Casa Rivera, the home of the first president of Uruguay, Fructuoso Rivera. This was a very important figure for the country, and almost the entire exposition is devoted to his life and work.
Uruguay has its own carnival, no worse than the Brazilian one, and the whole Carnival Museum is dedicated to this colorful action. It was opened relatively recently, in 2008, and primarily not for tourists, but for the younger generation of Uruguay, so that they know about the ethnic traditions of the carnival. The museum exhibits carnival costumes and masks from different eras, musical instruments, as well as numerous photographs and documents that tell about the history of the carnival in Uruguay, and watch popular science films on this topic.
One of the popular modern museums is Espacio Ciencia. This is an interactive museum dedicated to science and technology, located in the building of the Uruguayan LATU Technology Laboratory. The exposition clearly demonstrates how the laws of physics work, how chemical reactions occur and how light is refracted, and talks about other scientific facts.
Montevideo is a very green city with many gardens and parks. It has its own botanical garden – more than 130 sq. m of various plants brought here from all over the world. Uruguayan botanists are engaged in their cultivation and selection, and then planted in city parks. Butterflies are also bred in the Montevideo Botanical Garden, you can watch them, it is best to do this in spring or summer.
The most beloved parks among locals and tourists are the huge Parque Batlle (60 hectares), which is sometimes called the “lungs of the capital”, Rodo (Parque Rodo) is a small French-style park named after the famous Uruguayan writer José Enrique Rodo (in there is a monument in the southern part of the park) and the Prado (Parque Prado), famous for its flower beds – there are more than 800 varieties of roses alone.