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The history of Montevideo begins in what we now call Old City, an area that although it was constantly modernized, still retains many tints of what was the colonial era. The Old City can be defined as an area of a small size within what is Montevideo, but which was the kick of what is now the big city. The geographical location it has was what allowed this to be the place where everything begins, since in 1726 the governor of Buenos Aires, Bruno Mauricio de Zabala, decided to besiege this area with high walls that would delimit the Old City, and not allow the easy access to the place. All this is born by the conflict between the Spanish Crown and the Portuguese Royal House, and led to the enclosure of the area that ran from what is today the intersection of the Costanera Boulevard and the Thirty-third Street, to the Bóvedas and Cubo del North. Some remnants of the walls are still in the area, as is the historic “Puerta de la Ciudadela”, installed in Plaza Independencia, which starts the pedestrian Calle Sarandí, or as in Calle Brecha, which was where the English were able to access in the year 1807.
In colonial times, the Old City was the administrative center of the Banda Oriental, and together with independence, the area became the main urban center of the country. As a consequence of the aforementioned, in the Old City there are old buildings with excellent maintenance that show us a little more in detail the history of the place.
As we already mentioned, in the Old City you can breathe the history of Montevideo, and even after more than 200 years, there are many constructions of both the colonial era and the first decades of independence. Some of them are the Cabildo de Montevideo, which dates from the first decade of the 19th century, the Solís Theater, the Mother Church, and many Museums, such as the Torres García, the Pre-Columbian and Indigenous Art, and the Decorative Arts . A minor detail is that the mythical Old City saw the birth of the greatest hero of the national history, General José Gervasio Artigas in 1764, enlarging even more what is the history of the area.
Currently there is a lot of foreign tourism in the area, visitors visiting and getting to know the history of Montevideana, which has a lot of craft shops, museums and art centers. The gastronomic offer is not absent in the Old City, on the contrary, there are many restaurants and bars with different themes and for all tastes, in fact, there is the most important gastronomic conglomerate of the city, the traditional Mercado del Puerto, offering the best and most ingrained gastronomy of the place.
The Old City has one of the best locomotion services in Montevideo, offering transportation to and from all neighborhoods in the city. The pedestrian Sarandi is an economic center of the place, where there are installed commercial premises of all kinds, for residents and visitors. Thus, the Old City could find the balance between being a historical walk for those who seek to know it, and an economic center and services for those who already live in the surrounding areas.
Catedral de Montevideo: Ituzaingó 1373 Tel.:2915 7018
Cabildo – Museo y archivo histórico Municipal: Juan C. Gómez 1362 esq. Sarandí Tel: 2915 9685 int.101 al 108
Museo Torres García: Sarandí 683 Teléfono: 2916 2663
Museo de Arte Precolombino e Indígena – MAPI:
25 de Mayo 279 entre Colón y Pérez Castellanos. Teléfono: 2916 9360
Museo de los Presidentes – Palacio Estévez : Casa de Gobierno
Plaza Independencia 776 entre Florida y Ciudadela Teléfono: 151 int. 5902/03
Museo Gurvich: Ituzaingó 1377 – Plaza Matriz Teléfono: 2915 7826
Mercado Del Puerto: Piedras 237 Teléfono: 2915 4704