Montevideo is the largest city, the capital and chief port of Uruguay. Montevideo is the primate city in Uruguay, the only city in the country with a population over 1,000,000. Montevideo has a fine harbour, one of the most important in the Americas.
Also, it has beautiful beaches, such as Pocitos, Buceo, Malvín, Playa de los Ingleses, Playa Verde, Punta Gorda and Carrasco. Montevideo is the pleasant capital city of Uruguay, a country in South America. It is situated on the east bank of the Rio de la Plata.
Many monuments and museums are found in the city, as well as historic buildings and squares. The city’s mayor is Ricardo Ehrlich. According to Mercer Human Resource Consulting, Montevideo has the highest quality of life in Latin America. It is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Montevideo.
Montevideo is situated in the south of the country, 18 de Julio is the city’s main avenue and extends from the Plaza Independencia, which is the junction between the Ciudad Vieja (the historical quarter) and the rest of the city, to the boundary between the neighborhoods of Cordón and Parque Batlle.
The Montevideo Carrasco International Airport (IATA: MVD) airport is about 15km east of the city center. Buses depart right outside the airport to Terminal Rio Branco, just north of many major sites downtown (easily walkable to hotels). Airport transfer by bus costs as much as a ticket in the city. The cabs to the center should cost little more than 200 pesos.
The Buquebus station, with convenient boat shuttles between Buenos Aires, Colonia, and Montevideo, is on the west side of the city. The Puerto Mercado is within walking distance, and cabs are easily accessible from the station. 65 Uruguayan Pesos should get you to Plaza Independencia, near the heart of the city.
Montevideo began as a minor settlement. In 1860, Montevideo had a population of 37,787. By 1884, the population had grown to 104,472, including many immigrants.
During the mid-20th century, a military dictatorship and economic stagnation caused a decline whose residual effects are still seen today. Many rural poor flooded the city, with a large concentration in Ciudad Vieja. The current population estimates for Montevideo are 1,349,000 habitants in the city proper and 1,814,400 habitants in the greater metropolitan region.
Most Montevideans have European origins, with Italian and Spanish descent being the most common; however, there are also minorities of African origins and Jewish communities.
Montevideo has a very rich architectural heritage and an impressive number of writers, artists, and musicians. Uruguayan tango is a unquie form of dance that originated in the neighborhoods of Montevideo, Uruguay towards the end of the 1800s. Tango, candombe and murga are the three main styles of music in this city.
Major Tourist Attractions:
- Ciudad Vieja – Montevideo’s Old Town. Enter through the portal called Puerta de la Ciudadela
- Plaza Independecia – the Independence Square at the end of the 18 de Julio ave with the latter being the main commercial area of the city
- Palacio Salvo next to Plaza Independencia, once South America’s highest buildings still dominates Montevideo’s skyline.
- Mausoleo de Artigas Underneath the statue on Plaza Indepencia. Faint red light, an urn, one tourist and two guards. It makes you wonder what the latter are doing when you leave.
- National History Museum – spread between five old historic houses, holds important bits of the country’s history. Entrance: free.
- The sexual diversity monument, erected in 2005, is located on Policia Vieja St., between Plaza de la Constituición 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.
Any part of the Rambla 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. Try sunset.
Spend part of Sunday morning with the locals at La Feria Tristán Narvaja Flea Market on the Tristán Narvaja Street. Everything from t-shirts, antiques and kitchen supplies. It’s right off of 18 de Julio and the entrance is often marked by people selling puppies.
Walk around! While not an especially beautiful city, it is an especially safe one. You can walk around without worry almost anywhere, and there are lots of side streets and areas you can explore. Parts of the city may appear run-down, but do not confuse this with it being a bad neighborhood.
This and Buenos Aires are probably the two cities in South America where poverty is not overly prevalent. That being said, there is simply not enough money in Uruguay to have lots of new and modern buildings, so buildings are kept in use for long periods of time. Have a coffee in the Radisson Hotel’s 25th floor café (elevators in the back of the building) for an overhead view of the Ciudad Vieja and the port. Right off Plaza de la Independencia.