Montevideo, Uruguay (Capital)

Carnaval 2010 Montevideo Uruguay
Carnaval 2010 - Montevideo, Uruguay
Plaza Fabini Montevideo Uruguay
Plaza Fabini - Downtown Montevideo, Uruguay
Mate Tea Gourds Montevideo Uruguay
Mate Tea Gourds - Montevideo, Uruguay
Pat Dunlap Carnaval Singer Montevideo Uruguay
Pat with Carnaval Singer 
- Montevideo
Street Montevideo Uruguay
Street - Montevideo, Uruguay
Downtown Montevideo Uruguay
Downtown - Montevideo, Uruguay
Montevideo, Uruguay (Capital) (1/15-16/2010)

We came here for a South American Carnaval! - more on that below.

Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay, with its 90%+ European-descendent population, is similar in nature to a northern Mediterranean city. Many believe that Uruguay has the highest quality of life in South America. About half of Uruguay's total population of 3.4 million live in Montevideo.

Although not particularly rich in tourist attractions, parts of Montevideo are attractive with nice suburbs, sandy beaches along the Rio (River) Plata, good restaurants, sidewalk cafes, tree-covered parks, sycamore-lined streets, and attractive architecture.

During the time of our visit in 2010, other parts of Montevideo reveal a run down nature especially in its old town and port areas. Significant reconstruction was taking place all over Montevideo and you can image this capital city of Uruguay will someday live up to its splendid past.

We came to Montevideo during Carnaval and attended a couple of the most popular events. We had the most fun at the outdoor Teatro Verano watching singing groups (mostly men) in very colorful costumes (see photos). The crowds loved it because the songs were making fun of the government, etc. We enjoyed the festival but not understanding the language, the jokes and satire were lost on us.

By the docks, we visited the Central Market (Marcado del Puerto) that dates back over a century and is similar in structure to the old European markets - great fun with food, street performers, artisans, and Museo Carnaval. 

We stayed in the Old Town (Ciudad Vieja) and wandered the European looking streets visiting sites such as Catedral Matriz (the old city church), Plaza Independencia (the main square with the statue of liberator Jose Gervasio Artigas), Plaza Constitucion, Palacio Salvo (South America’s tallest building in the 1920’s), Palacio Estevez (national government headquarters), Teatro Solis, and much more (see photos). 

Montevideo Uruguay
Montevideo, Uruguay
Some information about Uruguay... Uruguay is roughly the size of England and it is the most ‘European’ of South American countries having been settled by Spanish, Italian, British, and Portuguese (mostly the first two) immigrants after decimating the native population. Uruguay has miles of impressive beaches while the north is rolling hills and grasslands similar to the Argentine pampas.

Map Montevideo Uruguay
Map of Montevideo
There exists a large middle class in Uruguay (unique in South America), relative prosperity, and a long tradition of peace, good government, and almost uninterrupted democracy after troubles in the 1970’s with corruption, inflation, and finally military dictatorship. 

Map of Uruguay
Map of Uruguay
Some history... The Spanish founded Montevideo in 1726 to secure the area against the Portuguese from Brazil. For the next century Montevideo changed hands between the British, Spanish, and Portuguese. Uruguay’s independence in 1828 served to create Uruguay as a buffer state between South America’s then largest powers (Spanish Argentina and Portuguese Brazil). 

We were not overly impressed with the beaches near Montevideo but please do see our blog post for other stop in Uruguay... Punta del Este, Uruguay (South America’s beach resort of the rich and famous).

Please see our 2 other blog posts for beautiful Uruguay:

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1 comment:

  1. We visited Montevideo last year and it is one of the more interesting cities I have ever visited. Really liked to walk along the Rambla and eating alot of good food. :)


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