THE JEWEL OF URUGUAY – COLONIA DEL SACRAMENTO

Kevin Eagan - May 20, 2008
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Admirers of the colonial era who prefer to indulge in relaxing exploration of old and secluded places and who enjoy visiting museums, eating in charming little restaurants or absorbing the warm and welcoming atmosphere of historical towns will fall in love with Uruguay’s hidden tourist gem – Colonia del Sacramento. It is a small town right across the river Rio de la Plata from the Argentinian Buenos Aires. Its modest character and historical relevancy presents great appeal to anyone interested in cultural heritage.

 

Colonia del Sacramento was founded in 1680 and for centuries it was subject to control of dominating countries which never seized to fight over it – Spain and Portugal. Only when Uruguay was established, this beautiful and unique town found its peace.

 

Its most appealing area, which was added to the List of UNESCO World Heritage sites in 1995, is the Barrio Histórico, the historic quarter. The lovely untidiness of its old crooked streets seems very inviting. Built by the Portuguese, the architectural impression of this area is very strong and sympathetic. The most original street, Suspiros Street, is definitely a must-see.

 

Another magnet for the tourists is local Portón de Campo, a restored wooden draw-bridge and the City Gate of old times. In order to find more about the history, culture, traditions and habits of local people, the Portuguesse Museum and the Municipal Museums are the ideal places to visit and explore.

 

Sunday Market in Plaza Mayor is a very interesting tourist attraction, as well as the Basilica del Sanctisimo Sacramento, The Matriz Church or the infamous Bull Ring. Many tourists come to discover Colonia del Sacramento from Buenos Aires – there is a regular boat service. It only takes an hour to cross the river and one feels like entering quite different historical time.

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