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Montevideo is a charming city, small in size but immense in history, natural beauty and culture. Take advantage of the short distances in Uruguay’s capital city and don’t miss a thing, by following this guide to the city’s top 20 must-visit attractions.
José Gervasio Artigas is Urguay’s national hero. He fought to free the territory from the Spanish crown in the early 1800s. After long years of battling for independence and losing power, Artigas was exiled to Paraguay, where he later died. His remains were brought to Uruguay and put in his mausoleum in Plaza Independencia, right under his statue in the center of Montevideo’s main square. The remains are guarded at all times by a national force with the name of Blandengues de Artigas.
Constructed by the architect and alchemist Humberto Pittamilglio in 1910, this castle is as intriguing as its creator. The building, almost unnoticeable between two enormous modern towers, seems to be patiently waiting for the right visitors: those willing to discover its beauty and some of the many mysteries it hides, with stairs that lead nowhere, secret doors, symbols and sculptures. It was later turned into a museum with guided tours and a theatre, providing the perfect setting for any play.
Pocitos is one of the most important residential neighborhoods in Montevideo. Its beach, also called Pocitos, is a favorite place for relaxing, practicing sports and taking a bath in Río Uruguay during hot summer days. The rest of the year, this area attracts sports enthusiasts and people of all ages who arrive on the promenade in search of fresh air and a spot to admire nature.
Montevideo’s name is beautiful, and there are several theories related to the origin of the word. Take your pick of whichever one is true – either way, Uruguay’s capital had its name placed in giant letters in the city in 2012. The letters were first intended as a temporary display, but citizens instantly fell in love with the look, and so a new version made out of a more long-lasting material was made in 2014. The letters were originally white, but have been painted for different occasions. During 2015, for example, they were painted with the colors of the rainbow flag to celebrate the month of diversity.
Montevideo’s Cathedral is located in Ciudad Vieja, the older side of the city. The construction of this Neoclassical building started in 1790, in the same place where a small brick church had been since 1740. In 1897, Pope Leo XIII named it as the Metropolitan Cathedral. To this day, the most important religious events of the year take place here, along with choir performances and, of course, gorgeous weddings.