Theme Week Uruguay – Montevideo

Saturday, 25 August 2018 - 12:00 pm (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General
Reading Time:  12 minutes

Sunset in Montevideo © Femenias/cc-by-3.0

Sunset in Montevideo © Femenias/cc-by-3.0

Montevideo is the capital and largest city of Uruguay. According to the 2011 census, the city proper has a population of 1,319,108 (about one-third of the country’s total population) in an area of 201 square kilometres (78 sq mi). The southernmost capital city in the Americas, Montevideo is situated in the southern coast of the country, on the northeastern bank of the Río de la Plata. The city was established in 1724 by a Spanish soldier, Bruno Mauricio de Zabala, as a strategic move amidst the SpanishPortuguese dispute over the platine region. It was also under brief British rule in 1807. Montevideo is the seat of the administrative headquarters of Mercosur and ALADI, Latin America’s leading trade blocs, position that entailed comparisons to the role of Brussels in Europe.

The 2017 Mercer’s report on quality of life, rated Montevideo first in Latin America, rank the city has consistently held since 2005. As of 2010, Montevideo was the 19th largest city economy in the continent and 9th highest income earner among major cities. In 2018, it has a GDP of $45.8 billion, with a per capita of $26,700. In 2016, it was classified as a beta global city ranking eighth in Latin America and 78th in the world. Montevideo hosted every match during the first FIFA World Cup, in 1930. Described as a “vibrant, eclectic place with a rich cultural life”, and “a thriving tech center and entrepreneurial culture”, Montevideo ranked eighth in Latin America on the 2013 MasterCard Global Destination Cities Index. In 2014, it was also regarded as the fifth most gay-friendly metropolis in the world, first in Latin America. It is the hub of commerce and higher education in Uruguay as well as its chief port. The city is also the financial and cultural hub of a larger metropolitan area, with a population of around 2 million.

The architecture of Montevideo ranges from Neoclassical buildings such as the Montevideo Metropolitan Cathedral to the Postmodern style of the World Trade Center Montevideo or the 158-metre (518 ft) ANTEL Telecommunication Tower, the tallest skyscraper in the country. The Along with the Telecommunications Tower, the Palacio Salvo dominates the skyline of the Bay of Montevideo. The building facades in the Old Town reflect the city’s extensive European immigration, displaying the influence of old European architecture. Notable government buildings include the Legislative Palace, the City Hall, Estévez Palace and the Executive Tower. The most notable sports stadium is the Estadio Centenario within Parque Batlle. Parque Batlle, Parque Rodó and Parque Prado are Montevideo’s three great parks. The Pocitos district, near the beach of the same name, has many homes built by Bello and Reboratti between 1920 and 1940, with a mixture of styles. Other landmarks in Pocitos are the “Edificio Panamericano” designed by Raul Sichero, and the “Positano” and “El Pilar” designed by Adolfo Sommer Smith and Luis García Pardo in the 1950s and 1960s. However, the construction boom of the 1970s and 1980s transformed the face of this neighbourhood, with a cluster of modern apartment buildings for upper and upper middle class residents.

World Trade Center Montevideo © flickr.com - Marcelo Campi/cc-by-2.0 Fortaleza del Cerro © Hoverfish/cc-by-sa-3.0 Carrasco © flickr.com - Jimmy Baikovicius/cc-by-sa-2.0 Market at the port © Marce76/cc-by-sa-3.0 Museo Historico Nacional © Fulviusbsas Palacio Legislativo © Felipe Restrepo Acosta/cc-by-sa-3.0 Parque Vaz Ferreira © Uruguayo-92/cc-by-sa-4.0 Playa Pocitos on River Plate © Elemaki/cc-by-3.0 Plaza de la Independencia © Felipe Restrepo Acosta/cc-by-sa-3.0 Punta Brava lighthouse © Diode/cc-by-sa-3.0 © Rosina Peixoto/cc-by-sa-4.0 Street in Barrio Sur © Hoverfish/cc-by-3.0 Pocitos is the most populous Montevideo neighborhood © Rimbaldine/cc-by-sa-4.0 Port of Montevideo © Carmela Repetto/cc-by-sa-4.0 Sunset in Montevideo © Femenias/cc-by-3.0
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Pocitos is the most populous Montevideo neighborhood © Rimbaldine/cc-by-sa-4.0
The Rambla is an avenue that goes along the entire coastline of Montevideo. The literal meaning of the Spanish word rambla is “avenue” or “watercourse”, but in the Americas it is mostly used as “coastal avenue”, and since all the southern departments of Uruguay border either the Río de la Plata or the Atlantic Ocean, they all have ramblas as well. As an integral part of Montevidean identity, the Rambla has been included by Uruguay in the Indicative List of World Heritage sites, though it has not received this status. Previously, the entire Rambla was called Rambla Naciones Unidas (“United Nations”), but in recent times different names have been given to specific parts of it. The Rambla is a very important site for recreation and leisure in Montevideo. Every day, a large number of people go there to take long strolls, jog, bicycle, roller skate, fish and even—in a special area—skateboard. Its 27-kilometre (17 mi) length makes it one of the longest esplanades in the world.

As the capital of Uruguay, Montevideo is the economic and political centre of the country. Most of the largest and wealthiest businesses in Uruguay have their headquarters in the city. Since the 1990s the city has undergone rapid economic development and modernization, including two of Uruguay’s most important buildings—the World Trade Center Montevideo (1998), and Telecommunications Tower (2000), the headquarters of Uruguay’s government-owned telecommunications company ANTEL, increasing the city’s integration into the global marketplace. The Port of Montevideo, in the northern part of Ciudad Vieja, is one of the major ports of South America and plays a very important role in the city’s economy. The port has been growing rapidly and consistently at an average annual rate of 14 percent due to an increase in foreign trade. The city has received a US$20 million loan from the Inter-American Development Bank to modernize the port, increase its size and efficiency, and enable lower maritime and river transportation costs. The most important state-owned companies headquartered in Montevideo are: AFE (railways), ANCAP (Energy), Administracion Nacional de Puertos (Ports), ANTEL (telecommunications), BHU (savings and loan), BROU (bank), BSE (insurance), OSE (water & sewage), UTE (electricity). These companies operate under public law, using a legal entity defined in the Uruguayan Constitution called Ente Autonomo (“autonomous entity”). The government also owns part of other companies operating under private law, such as those owned wholly or partially by the CND (National Development Corporation). Banking has traditionally been one of the strongest service export sectors in Uruguay: the country was once dubbed “the Switzerland of America”, mainly for its banking sector and stability, although that stability has been threatened in the 21st century by the recent global economic climate. The largest bank in Uruguay is Banco Republica (BROU), based in Montevideo. Almost 20 private banks, most of them branches of international banks, operate in the country (Banco Santander, ABN AMRO, Citibank, among others). There are also a myriad of brokers and financial-services bureaus, among them Ficus Capital, Galfin Sociedad de Bolsa, Europa Sociedad de Bolsa, Darío Cukier, GBU, Hordeñana & Asociados Sociedad de Bolsa, etc.

Tourism accounts for much of Uruguay’s economy. Tourism in Montevideo is centered in the Ciudad Vieja area, which includes the city’s oldest buildings, several museums, art galleries, and nightclubs, with Sarandí Street and the Mercado del Puerto being the most frequented venues of the old city. On the edge of Ciudad Vieja, Plaza Independencia is surrounded by many sights, including the Solís Theatre and the Palacio Salvo; the plaza also constitutes one end of 18 de Julio Avenue, the city’s most important tourist destination outside of Ciudad Vieja. Apart from being a shopping street, the avenue is noted for its Art Deco buildings, three important public squares, the Gaucho Museum, the Palacio Municipal and many other sights. The avenue leads to the Obelisk of Montevideo; beyond that is Parque Batlle, which along with the Parque Prado is another important tourist destination. Along the coast, the Fortaleza del Cerro, the Rambla (the coastal avenue), 13 kilometres (8.1 mi) of sandy beaches, and Punta Gorda attract many tourists, as do the Barrio Sur and Palermo barrios. The Ministry of Tourism offers a two-and-a-half-hour city tour and the Montevideo Tourist Guide Association offers guided tours in English, Italian, Portuguese and German. Apart from these, many private companies offer organized city tours. Most tourists to the city come from Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Europe, with the number of visitors from elsewhere in Latin America and from the United States growing every year, thanks to an increasing number of international airline arrivals at Carrasco International Airport as well as luxury cruises that arrive into the port of Montevideo that often participate on The Wine Experience.

Montevideo has over 50 hotels, mostly located within the downtown area or along the beachfront of the Rambla de Montevideo. The old Hotel Carrasco, established around 1930 and a landmark of luxury for decades, has been renovated by Sofitel and re-opened in March 2013. The hotel has 93 rooms and 23 suites, a Spa, a large casino, restaurant, bar, library and café. Other hotels are located in colonial buildings, such as the Hotel Palacio and boutique hotels, especially away from the downtown area, retain a colonial feel. One such hotel is Belmont House (established 1995), located on the Avenida Rivera in Carrasco. It is set amidst gardens and has 24 rooms and suites and is served by the Restaurant Allegro.

Montevideo is the heartland of retailing in Uruguay. The city has become the principal centre of business and real estate, including many expensive buildings and modern towers for residences and offices, surrounded by extensive green spaces. In 1985, the first shopping centre in Rio de la Plata, Montevideo Shopping was built. In 1994, with building of three more shopping complexes such as the Shopping Tres Cruces, Portones Shopping, and Punta Carretas Shopping, the business map of the city changed dramatically. The creation of shopping complexes brought a major change in the habits of the people of Montevideo. Global firms such as McDonald’s and Burger King etc. are firmly established in Montevideo. Apart from the big shopping complexes, the main retailing venues of the city are: most of 18 de Julio Avenue in the Centro and Cordón barrios, a length of Agraciada Avenue in the Paso de Molino area of Belvedere, a length of Arenal Grande Street.

Here you can find the complete Overview of all Theme Weeks.

Read more on City of Montevideo, LonelyPlanet.com – Montevideo, Wikitravel Montevideo, Wikivoyage Montevideo and Wikipedia Montevideo. Learn more about the use of photos. To inform you about latest news most of the city, town or tourism websites offer a newsletter service and/or operate Facebook pages/Twitter accounts. In addition more and more destinations, tourist organizations and cultural institutions offer Apps for your Smart Phone or Tablet, to provide you with a mobile tourist guide (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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