Top Ten Uruguayan Attractions

Top Ten Uruguayan Attractions

       Uruguay is a country located in the south eastern part of South America. It is home to some 3.5 million people, of whom 1.8 million live in the capital Montevideo and its metropolitan area. An estimated 88% of the population is of European descent. Colonia del Sacramento, one of the oldest European settlements in the country, was founded by the Portuguese in 1680 and Montevideo was founded by the Spanish in the early 18th century as a military stronghold. Uruguay won its independence in 1811–28 following a three-way struggle between the claims of Spain, Argentina and Brazil. It is a constitutional democracy, with a president who is both the head of state and the head of government. Uruguay is one of the most economically developed countries in South America, with a high GDP per capita and the 52nd highest Human Development Index in the world as of 2010, and the first by human development in Latin America. Uruguay is also noted for its low levels of corruption, being ranked by Transparency International as the 2nd least corrupt country in Latin America behind Chile. It was the highest rated country in Latin America on Legatum’s 2010 Prosperity Index, with good political and labor conditions. Reader’s Digest ranked Uruguay as the 9th “Most livable and greenest” country in the world, and first in all the Americas. Uruguay is ranked highest in Latin America on the Global Peace Index.Uruguay and Bolivia were also the only countries in the Americas which did not go into recession as a result of the late 2000’s financial crisis. In 2009,Uruguay became the first nation in the world to provide every school child with a free laptop and wireless internet.

  1. Montévideo

    Montevideo is the largest city, the capital, and the chief port of Uruguay. The settlement was established in 1726 by Bruno Mauricio de Zabala, as a strategic move amidst a Spanish-Portuguese dispute over the platine region, and as a counter to the Portuguese colony at Colonia del Sacramento. According to the census of 2004, Montevideo has a population of 1,325,968 (about half of Uruguay’s population). It has an area of 530 square km (200 sq mi) and extends 20 km (12 mi) from west to east. The southernmost cosmopolitan capital city in the Americas and 3rd most southern in the world, it is situated in the southern coast of the country, on the northeastern bank of the Río de la Plata, “Silver River.” The city was under brief British rule in 1807 and was involved in the first major naval battle in WWII: the Battle of the River Plate. It is also the place where the Montevideo convention was signed, in 1933, by 19 nations of the Americas. The city hosted the 1st FIFA World Cup in 1930. Montevideo has a rich architectural and cultural heritage, the latter including tango and candombe. According to Mercer Human Resource Consulting, in 2007 Montevideo provided the highest quality of life in Latin America. Described as a “vibrant, eclectic place with a rich cultural life,” it is the hub of commerce and higher education in Uruguay: its first university, the Universidad de la República, was founded in 1849. The architecture of Montevideo reflects its history, ranging from colonial to Art Deco, and influenced by Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, French and British immigrants.
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  2. Palacio Legislativo

           The Legislative Palace in Montevideo, Uruguay, is the name of the working place of the General Assembly of Uruguay.
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  3. Historic Quarter of the City of Colonia del Sacramento

           Colonia del Sacramento is a city in southwestern Uruguay, by the Río de la Plata, facing Buenos Aires, Argentina. It is the oldest town in Uruguay and capital of the departamento of Colonia. It has a population of around 22,000. It is renowned for its historic quarter, a World Heritage Site. Modern Colonia del Sacramento produces textiles and has a free trade zone, in addition to a polytechnic centre and various government buildings.
  4. Chamangá: A Rock Paintings Area

    Chamangá is an area within a rocky terrain in the Flores Department of Uruguay, where a considerable quantity of ancient rock art has survived. The Chamangá River, a tributary of the Yí River, flows nearby. In recent years there has been some considerable interest in these examples of rock art, both by the Uruguayan government and by academic researchers.
  5. Architectural Works of Eladio Dieste

           Eladio Dieste (December 10, 1917 – Montevideo, July 29, 2000) was a Uruguayan engineer and architect who made his reputation by building a range of structures from grain silos, factory sheds, markets and churches, all in Uruguay and all of exceptional elegance. His uncle was the poet Rafael Dieste. A particular innovation was his Gaussian vault, a thin-shell structure for roofs in single-thickness brick, that derives its stiffness and strength from a double curvature catenary arch form that resists buckling failure. There were several architects in South and Latin America who were working in the modernist idiom, such as Carlos Raúl Villanueva in Venezuela and Félix Candela in Mexico, but Dieste, was one of the few to bring architecture and structural engineering into close proximity, especially in the service of sometimes humble commissions. His buildings were mostly roofed with thin shell vaults constructed of brick and ceramic tiles. These forms were cheaper than reinforced concrete, and didn’t require ribs and beams. In developing this approach, even in comparison with modernists the world over, he was an innovator. Dieste is quoted about his use of materials and structure: “There are deep moral/practical reasons for our search which give form to our work: with the form we create we can adjust to the laws of matter with all reverence, forming a dialogue with reality and its mysteries in essential communion…For architecture to be truly constructed, the materials must be used with profound respect for their essence and possibilities; only thus can ‘cosmic economy’ be achieved… in agreement with the profound order of the world; only then can have that authority that so astounds us in the great works of the past.” With regard to structure Dieste stated: “The resistant virtues of the structure that we make depend on their form; it is through their form that they are stable and not because of an awkward accumulation of materials. There is nothing more noble and elegant from an intellectual viewpoint than this; resistance through form.” Many of the techniques that he developed to achieve these forms, such as pre-stressing of brickwork and moveable formworks, were in advance of contemporary techniques in the developed world.
    Links: Top Ten Architectural Works by Eladio Dieste, Top 100 Architectural Works, Top 100 Architects, Top Ten South American Architectural Works,
  6. Cultural landscape and Industrial Fray Bentos

    Fray Bentos is the capital of the Río Negro Department of western Uruguay and it is a port on the Uruguay River. It is located close to the border with Argentina and about 160 km (99 mi) due north of Buenos Aires.
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