Uruguay travel blog by Mark Berman -
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I have visited Maldonado twice now, the first time just for a few hours while staying in nearby Punta del Este. The 2nd time I arrived by
bus from Piriapolis (20mins) and stayed for 3 nights because the accommodation in Maldonado is cheaper than in both Punta del Este
and Piriapolis. This time I visited Punta del Este from Maldonado! You can spend a day in Maldonado to see the sights of the
historical circuit in the city.
Pink Buildings At The Plaza
At the main square Plaza de San Fernando de Maldonado there are several sights to see around
this area. The most eye-catching is the pink neoclassical cathedral built during the 1800's. The plaza is large and is surrounded
by mainly shops and restaurants. A statue of General Artigas stands in the middle. 2 other historic buildings around the plaza
are also pink - the police station and Paseo de San Fernando.
Dragon's Barracks Top Highlight
Probably the top highlight in Maldonado is (or should be if
they had more to see and opened up the rooms) the Dragons Barracks (Cuartel de Dragones) - an old military fort right across
the road from the main plaza built in the late 1700's. Here you can see stone buildings including the chapel, the foundations
of other buildings, the military hospital, the plaza, cannon, statue and an old horse-pulled cart. There is also a museum
onsite - Museo Didactico Artiguista.
In a restaurant on the wall was a painting of something that looked important, a local relic. I asked someone
where it was and walked a few blocks to the Plaza del Vigia to see the Torre del Vigia, the watchtower built in 1801 to watch
for ships coming from the Rio de la Plata. There is a cannon on the grass nearby.
Museo Mazzoni is open Tuesday to Saturday from 10am
until 4:45pm. This is the former house of Professor R. Francisco Mazzoni (1883-1978) who dedicated his life to preserving
the regions past. He was a writer, musician, potter, inventor, teacher and journalist. Inside the museum are items such as
an antique piano and furniture, ceramic works, the antique bedroom, old black and white photos, clocks, art and sculpted figures.
When Mazzoni died, he donated the house and all his collections to the state.
More Museums / Shopping
Maldonado is full of shops of all kind,
it is definitely a place to go shopping and cheaper than Punta del Este. Maldonado is also known for its museums including
the Sea Museum
(Museo del Mar), the Museum of American Art
(Museo de Arte Americano), Museo Nicolas Garcia Uriburu
and Museo Mazzoni
. So, if you are in Punta del Este
and it's not beach weather, you can always come to Maldonado and tour around the museums of the city. Enjoy!