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Montevideo, Uruguay - Points Of Interest Include Salvo Palace

Uruguay travel blog by Mark Berman - March 2008 May 2012   » View Photoset (124 Photos)

Mark Berman, South America backpacker for 10yrs!
In 2012 I visited Montevideo for the 2nd time and saw many more things as well as again
Uruguay Photo - Plaza Fabini beside Av 18 de Julio, the main street in Montevideo.
Plaza Fabini beside Av 18 de Julio, the main street in Montevideo.
seeing the Sunday markets - 'La Feria Tristan Narvaja Flea Market'. In the 4yrs between my very first time in Montevideo and in South America in 2008 I had travelled extensively in the continent for over 2yrs on 3 other trips. This was now my 5th time in South America and I had become a lot better at documenting my travels and taking note of names of things, like the name of the Sunday markets in Montevideo - La Feria Tristan Narvaja Flea Market, for example.

City Tour and Points of Interest

My 2nd time in Montevideo in 2012 was fantastic. I saw a lot in 2 days and would love to return another time in the future! I started at Plaza Constitucion (Matriz) (1726), this is where you can see the small antiques market on Saturdays, lots of old bits and pieces set out on tables - box cameras, ancient cutlery, numberplates, bells, bottles, books, coins, rusty keys, beads, dolls and colored rocks. Cathedral Iglesia Matriz sits beside the plaza. From here I walked down the streets of the old city towards the pier. I wasn't quite as
Uruguay Photo - Plaza Zabala in Montevideo, site of the original Governor House in Montevideo.
Plaza Zabala in Montevideo, site of the original Governor House in Montevideo.
blown away as I had been 4yrs earlier and I didn't see any policemen either but I did indeed like the graffiti art. The area around the pier was again accommodated by fishermen. Scattered all around the new and old cities are historical buildings, I saw church Iglesia San Francisco with its impressive tower/steeple. The building of the Republica Oriental Bank of Uruguay is pretty amazing, like a palace with 8 columns and a monument to Artigas.

Salvo Palace and Plaza Independencia

The area where the new and old cities join is around Plaza Independencia. One of Montevideo's most significant structures is here, you can't miss it, it's huge, Palacio Salvo built between 1922 and 1928 in eclecticism style, amazing! On the opposite side of the plaza is the
Uruguay Photo - Horse and cart trots through a Montevideo street.
Horse and cart trots through a Montevideo street.
theatre Teatro Solis, an historical building with columns built in 1842-56 with lateral wings added in 1869. To the left of the theatre is a statue of Juan Manuel Blanes (1830-1901), a Uruguayan painter. Nearby is a tribute to famous tenor Jose Soler (1904-1999), born in Spain, moved to Uruguay when 6yrs old. On another corner of the plaza is the Cafe Montevideo Building with its small dome at the top. You will no doubt also see the gigantic apartment building with its 100's of air conditioning units on the side. Walking along the main street in the new city (Av 18 de Julio) I saw other buildings including the Cine Rex Building built in 1928
Uruguay Photo - Statue of Artigas on his horse in Montevideo.
Statue of Artigas on his horse in Montevideo.
with its dome lookout. Next door is the interesting eye-catching facade of the Brazil Palace (1919).

Tango Dancing in the Street

I now came to a plaza called Plaza Fabini with its fountain and sculpture of men on horses fighting called 'El Entrevero'. It was beside this plaza that I had seen the locals tango dancing on Friday evening 4yrs before. Across the road is Plaza de Cagancha (1836) and the Liberty Statue (1866), nearby is Santos Palace. I now came to the one of a kind 'locks fountain ' Fuente de los Candados. It's a special fountain where you place a lock with your intials on the fountain. When 2 people in love do this, they will return to the fountain together and their love will be forever locked, this is the legend. Next I came to the
Uruguay Photo - Bits and pieces of junk for sale at La Feria Tristan Narvaja markets in Montevideo.
Bits and pieces of junk for sale at La Feria Tristan Narvaja markets in Montevideo.
Sorocabana Building (1925), it has a yellow dome, blue columns and many balconies. Near to here is the plaza with a naked statue of David de Miguel Angel, a bronze replica of Michelangelos 'David' made in Florence Italy in 1931. It's in front of the Municipal Palace. Across the road is church Iglesia Evangelica Metodista and up the road a little towards the markets is Plaza de los 33 Orientales, the main monument is to Juan Antonio Lavalleja on his horse - a Uruguayan military man (1784-1853). The plaza is more like a park and also has a monument to the firemen - Monumento al Bombero and something more special. 2 bronze men sit on one of the park benches, they are physicist Albert Einstein and Uruguayan
Uruguay Photo - Stalls for blocks and blocks at La Feria Tristan Narvaja markets in Montevideo.
Stalls for blocks and blocks at La Feria Tristan Narvaja markets in Montevideo.
philosopher Carlos Vaz Ferreira. It says that in this plaza on the 24th of April 1925 they sat here to have a chat. I came now to a monument of a man on a horse (common in South America), he is Manuel Oribe (1792-1857), 4th President of Uruguay, born and died in Montevideo. I saw a few old churches around this area including Iglesia de la Inmaculada Concepcion before heading back to Plaza de Cagancha for a bit of a sit down.

Attractive Leafy Streets

The central streets of Montevideo are very leafy, lots of trees, very attractive. I headed back down towards the river Rio de la Plata. I hadn't really seen the southern side, it's called Dique Maua, there are several things to see around here. Plaza Espana, Plaza Republica Argentina,
Uruguay Photo - Buildings, figures, palms and water, graffiti art in Montevideo.
Buildings, figures, palms and water, graffiti art in Montevideo.
monuments to British diplomat Sir Eugen Millington-Drake (1889-1972) and Admiral Guillermo Brown (1777-1857), an old clock tower and an amazing wall mural of an underwater scene. Walking northward through the grassy plazas with their shady palm trees I came to a monument to Isabel la Catolica - Queen of Portugal. The Holy Trinity church with its 4 grand columns stands nearby. I passed some cool graffiti art as I walked to Plaza Zabala (1878), this is the site of the original Governor House and warehouses, the central monument is to Montevideo's founder General Don Bruno de Zabala (1682-1736). There are quite a few interesting historical buildings around this area. It was late Saturday afternoon, time to
Uruguay Photo - Musicians and waltzing, graffiti art in Montevideo.
Musicians and waltzing, graffiti art in Montevideo.
head back to the hostel.

La Feria Tristan Narvaja Markets

I wanted to make an early start in the morning for the famous La Feria Tristan Narvaja markets! There is one thing you absolutely don't want to miss in Montevideo, of course it's the Sunday markets! I have been to several famous markets in South America including Otavalo in Ecuador and Andahuaylas in Peru, this one is up there with the best for sure! An amazing array of fruits and vegetables, flowers, clothing, paintings, shoes and boots, cheeses, books, leather and wooden products, household accessories, antiques and furniture, hardware and junk. I created an 18min video in 1 take while walking through just the main street of these markets!

Bus to Tacuarembo

The next morning I left
Uruguay Photo - Amazing building facades all around Montevideo.
Amazing building facades all around Montevideo.
Montevideo and travelled north for 4hrs 30mins to the town of Tacuarembo.

My First Time in Montevideo

In 2008 I was looking forward to visiting Montevideo. I arrived on a Friday afternoon in time for the weekend markets and religious events and to explore the old city Ciudad Vieja and whatever else the city had to offer. After settling into my hostel in the center of town - I went up to the main street and had a look around - plaza's and statues, shops and restaurants. As the daylight faded I saw an amazing thing in the street, people dancing tango, mainly older couples. Music was playing and people were gathered around watching. The next day I planned to have a real good
Uruguay Photo - Tomatoes and mandarins, La Feria Tristan Narvaja markets in Montevideo.
Tomatoes and mandarins, La Feria Tristan Narvaja markets in Montevideo.
walk around the old city.

The Cathedral

The Metropolitan Cathedral (Iglesia Matriz) is worth a look. The white interior has big archways and chandeliers, statues, golden shrines and monuments, paintings and stained glass windows.

Amazing Old City

I came to Ciudad Vieja. There were a lot of tourist police there because many poverty stricken refugees from the rural areas live in slums in these streets. I started to see some interesting and scary looking graffiti, some children posed for a photo and a man was carrying a barrel. It was my first real experience in an old city in South America and I was totally blown away. The city takes you back to an earlier century, founded in 1726,
Uruguay Photo - Colorful flowers at La Feria Tristan Narvaja markets in Montevideo.
Colorful flowers at La Feria Tristan Narvaja markets in Montevideo.
it used to have a wall built around it, it is the real deal. There are some interesting buildings and museums too. I saw a horse and cart, a busker and met a man who had a flask of mate tea that wanted me to photograph him. I saw an artist painting a street scene before coming across an interesting outdoor market area full of strange and interesting antiques - jewelry, paintings, rocks and bits and pieces.

The Wharf

The main walkway through the old city heads down towards the sea and pier. A huge chimney or smokestack stands like a monument at the end of a street beside the Rio de la Plata. The people of Montevideo love to spend their time fishing down here by the water's edge and drinking flasks of mate tea. I walked for a
Uruguay Photo - Statues on the facade of the Republica Oriental Bank in Montevideo.
Statues on the facade of the Republica Oriental Bank in Montevideo.
long time out onto the pier and still didn't reach the end, it goes out very far. I looked back towards the old city with the new city behind it.

Pasta and Salad for Lunch

I headed back through streets with sinister graffiti and rough looking buildings up to the new city for lunch. A salad and hot pasta meal for about $6.50USD, I gave the leftovers to a homeless boy.

BBQ at Hostel

That night there was a bbq on the roof terrace of my hostel for all the guests which was fun. A bunch of us took a couple of taxis, which are really cheap, to the top of the old city where there is a lot of nightlife in the area. We went to the Irish pub and had a great night, there was live music and a lot of people. The old city is a dangourous place at night
Uruguay Photo - A man sells honey at La Feria Tristan Narvaja markets in Montevideo.
A man sells honey at La Feria Tristan Narvaja markets in Montevideo.
in the areas without lights, so don't venture too far in.

Religious Ceremony and Animal Market

Next morning I wanted to see the Sunday markets. On the way I saw an interesting religious ceremony on the street beside a statue where people were holding small branches up in the air and priests were conducting a service and throwing water. When I got towards the market area I began to see exotic animals like snakes, tarantula spiders and jerbos. I had a huge snake put around my neck for a tip and had a tarantula spider crawl up my arm! The Sunday market is massive and covers many blocks, buskers playing music, people selling animals, food, pirated cds and software, everything and anything, 1000 stalls!

Bus to Rivera

In the afternoon I checked out of my hostel and lay in a park for a few hours and at 6pm took a 6hr bus north to Rivera on the border with Brazil. Montevideo is really nice, laidback and with laidback people, quite clean and safe. I would recommend visiting during a weekend.

     

View all photos in the Montevideo Photoset


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Distances & times (if available) from Montevideo (Uruguay) to:


Map location: Montevideo, Uruguay. The Sunday markets - 'La Feria Tristan Narvaja Flea Market' is one of Montevideos highlights, it's not just food and produce, it's antiques and books and all kinds of stuff! Montevideo is a great city and has some good sights and restaurants!
 A : Buenos Aires to Montevideo - Uruguay 107 kms 107 kms straight distance | 1hr 22mins 1hr 22mins by car (118 kms) | 1hr 38mins 1hr 38mins by bus (118 kms) (118 kms)
 B : Maldonado - Uruguay 125 kms 125 kms straight distance | 2hrs 5mins 2hrs 5mins by car (146 kms) | 2hrs 30mins 2hrs 30mins by bus (146 kms) (146 kms)
 C : Punta del Este - Uruguay 130 kms 130 kms straight distance | 2hrs 15mins 2hrs 15mins by car (153 kms) | 2hrs 42mins 2hrs 42mins by bus (153 kms) (153 kms)
 D : Colonia del Sacramento - Uruguay 141 kms 141 kms straight distance | 1hr 50mins 1hr 50mins by car (162 kms) | 2hrs 12mins 2hrs 12mins by bus (162 kms) (162 kms)
 E : Carmelo - Uruguay 199 kms 199 kms straight distance | 2hrs 42mins 2hrs 42mins by car (223 kms) | 3hrs 14mins 3hrs 14mins by bus (223 kms) (223 kms)
 F : Mercedes to Carmelo - Uruguay 223 kms 223 kms straight distance | 3hrs 13mins 3hrs 13mins by car (261 kms) | 3hrs 51mins 3hrs 51mins by bus (261 kms) (261 kms)
 G : Buenos Aires - Argentina 202 kms 202 kms straight distance | 5hrs 14mins 5hrs 14mins by car (262 kms) | 6hrs 16mins 6hrs 16mins by bus (262 kms) (262 kms)
 H : Mercedes - Uruguay 234 kms 234 kms straight distance | 3hrs 12mins 3hrs 12mins by car (262 kms) | 3hrs 50mins 3hrs 50mins by bus (262 kms) (262 kms)
 I : Fray Bentos - Uruguay 261 kms 261 kms straight distance | 3hrs 34mins 3hrs 34mins by car (296 kms) | 4hrs 16mins 4hrs 16mins by bus (296 kms) (296 kms)
 J : Chuy - Uruguay 294 kms 294 kms straight distance | 4hrs 28mins 4hrs 28mins by car (350 kms) | 5hrs 21mins 5hrs 21mins by bus (350 kms) (350 kms)
 K : Colon - Argentina 333 kms 333 kms straight distance | 4hrs 21mins 4hrs 21mins by car (375 kms) | 5hrs 13mins 5hrs 13mins by bus (375 kms) (375 kms)
 L : Paysandu - Uruguay 323 kms 323 kms straight distance | 4hrs 35mins 4hrs 35mins by car (380 kms) | 5hrs 30mins 5hrs 30mins by bus (380 kms) (380 kms)
 M : Tacuarembo / Durazno - Uruguay 346 kms 346 kms straight distance | 4hrs 44mins 4hrs 44mins by car (394 kms) | 5hrs 40mins 5hrs 40mins by bus (394 kms) (394 kms)
 N : Rivera - Uruguay 439 kms 439 kms straight distance | 6hrs 4mins 6hrs 4mins by car (505 kms) | 7hrs 16mins 7hrs 16mins by bus (505 kms) (505 kms)
 O : Rosario - Argentina 455 kms 455 kms straight distance | 7hrs 44mins 7hrs 44mins by car (528 kms) | 9hrs 16mins 9hrs 16mins by bus (528 kms) (528 kms)
Driving times are accurate but approximate and are listed in the order of driving distance! Drive times are always affected by weather conditions, the terrain, time of day, altitude, dinner and bathroom stops, animals on the road, protests, a fast or slow bus driver, police checkpoints, border and river crossings, dropping off and picking up passengers etc. These drive times are obtained from Google Maps and are meant as a guide. Note however, times quoted in the main text of this page are exactly as the author experienced it.


My Hostel & Hotel Reviews for Montevideo, Uruguay:

Live MVD Hostel, Montevideo, Uruguay - Large Photo
Live MVD Hostel, Montevideo, Uruguay (May 2012 - 2 nights) - A fun relaxing hostel with a fireplace, internet, kitchen and outside area. The dorms have nice beds and lockers. It's a new hostel and I recommend it!
Red Hostel, Montevideo, Uruguay - Large Photo
Red Hostel, Montevideo, Uruguay (Mar 2008 - 2 nights) - I thought it was nice with a great central location. They put on a bbq for all the guests up on the roof area and I enjoyed meeting some cool people, we all went out on the town afterwards. Perfect for me.

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