Archive for the ‘Uruguay’ Category

Uruguay – Colonia/Montevideo

Posted: September 1, 2011 in Uruguay

I thought I would hop on a ferry from Buenos Aires and head over to Uruguay for a day trip, which meant an EARLY start this morning! I am not accustomed to getting out of bed before the sunrise generally, but thanks to an early night was not as bad as I had thought. I packed my bag QUIETLY and left it in the storage cupboard, as I will be returning to the same hostel tomorrow evening. With toothbrush, toothpaste, shower gel in one pocket and passport, tickets and wallet in the other off I go to the metro station to catch a train!

The ferry was a sea cat and made the crossing in just under an hour… pretty rapid stuff. The pilot didn´t seem to slow down much coming into the harbor wall which was a little disconcerting. At the last minute he threw the boat into reverse and it spun round on the spot… nifty maneuvering I thought to myself.

Getting through the port was pretty painless and wandered off to old town Colonia Del Sacramento, which now has UNESCO world heritage listing. So, to a brief history to the place:

Founded in 1680 by Portugal as Colónia do Sacramento, the colony was later disputed by the Spanish who settled over the water on the at Buenos Aires. The colony was conquered by José de Garro in 1680, but returned to Portugal the next year. It was conquered again by the Spanish in March 1705 after a fiev month seige, but given back in the Treaty of Utrecht. Yet another attack during the Spainish – Portuguese War. 1735-1737, but failed.

It kept changing hands from crown to crown due to treaties such as the Treaty of Madird, 1750 and the Treaty of San Ildefonso, 1777, until it remained with the Spanish. It then transferred to Portuguese control again, being later incorporated in Brazil after 1816, when the entire Banda Oriental (Uruguay) was seized by the government of the United Kingdom or Portugal, Brazil and the Algraves and renamed the Cisplatina province.

The sights I managed to cram in before my bus to Montevideo,

Portón de Campo – the City Gate and wooden drawbridge, which has been rebuilt in 1968 – 1971, from the ruins of the old wall. Hard to get overly excited about a modern reproduction, but I guess it gives the citadel more os a sense of grandeur it would lack otherwise.

Calle de los Suspiros (street of sighs), an original street from the first colonial period, original paved road with drain running down the centre.

Ruins of the 17th century Convent of San Francisco, which was built in 1694 and subsequently destroyed in a fire 8 years later

Basilica del Sanctísimo Sacramento – the Basilica of the Holy Sacrament, built of stone by the Portuguese in 1808

Portuguese Museum – constructed in the 18th century, it exhibits Portuguese furnishings, jewelry, uniforms and old maps of Portuguese naval expeditions

Casa de Nacarello – an 18th century Portuguese house

Municipal Museum – rebuilt by the Spanish in 1835 as the Casa del Almirante Brown, it exhibits artifacts and documents of the city’s different periods and cultures

Viceroy’s House – the Casa del Virrey, reconstructed from the original ruins