Montevideo is the capital of Uruguay and the country’s southernmost city. It was founded between 1724 and 1730 by settlers from Buenos Aires and the Canary Islands.
The city grew out from its historic walled-in quarter, the Ciudad Vieja (Old Town), from 1861 onwards, with wider, tree-lined avenues being built in what became known as the Ciudad Nueva (New Town).
Uruguay’s biggest city, Montevideo is home to approximately half its population, boasts many seats of higher education and has much to offer in the way of culture.
The city’s architecture fuses modernity and tradition, with important historic buildings standing alongside modern constructions, lending the city an identity all of its own.
The Cabildo, the Iglesia Matriz, the Palacio Salvo and the Puerta de la Ciudadela are among its most significant landmarks and feature architectural styles such as Art Nouveau and Art Deco. Other cutting-edge buildings that are worthy of note are the Torre de las Comunicaciones and the Torre Ejecutiva.
The Estadio Centenario is another of the city’s most iconic locations. The main venue for the inaugural FIFA World Cup™ in 1930, it is also houses the Museum of Football.
An avenue running for 30 kilometres along the city’s coastline, La Rambla is one of the main attractions for residents and visitors alike. It starts in the Capurro district and ends in Carrasco, running through a number of neighbourhoods and parks along the way, offering a first-rate environment for outdoor leisure pursuits.
Montevideo also has a thriving cultural scene that embraces theatre, music and other types of traditional and alternative entertainment. Its cultural centres are popular attractions, as are its museums, which house works by internationally-renowned Uruguayan artists.
Places to visit
Situated in the Ciudad Vieja, this square is home to a famous fountain and is overlooked by two historic buildings: the Cabildo and the Iglesia Matriz. The city’s main pedestrian street, the Peatonal Sarandi – famous for its craft fair – also runs through the square.
Located in the Parque Batlle, the Centenario is the country’s leading sports venue. It has hosted many historic matches over the years, including the very first World Cup Final. Visitors can take guided tours of the stadium and discover why Uruguayan people are so passionate about their football.
Covering an area of 13 hectares, the city’s botanic gardens boast an extensive collection of plants and flowers from all over the world and provide a perfect opportunity to connect with nature and enjoy the great outdoors, all without leaving the city and all free of charge.
Mercado del Puerto
Located in the Ciudad Vieja, this hugely popular food market serves Uruguayan cuisine at its most traditional, with barbecued beef the star attraction along with street entertainment and craft stalls.
Football in Montevideo
Montevideo is both the capital of Uruguay and Uruguayan football and is the location of the legendary Estadio Centenario, where the national team play their home games.
The city is also home to the country’s two biggest clubs, Penarol and Nacional, who bring the nation to a standstill whenever they face off. The two most successful outfits on the domestic scene, they are Uruguay’s leading footballing ambassadors around the world.
Between them they have lifted 14 international titles, having won five and three Copa Libertadores respectively and three Intercontinental Cups apiece.
Montevideo is also where most of the teams taking part in the Uruguayan FA’s women’s competitions are based.