Capitol of Estado Monagas is Worth a Stop Over
"One of the Copa America cities"
Estadio Monumental de Maturín (Monumental Stadium of Maturin) is one of nine venues in Venezuela for the 2007 Copa America, and so many visitors may arrive here, and be interested to know what else to see in town. There is an airport in Maturin, with regular domestic flights to Caracas, but many may choose to drive from Cumana or Caracas as part of a tour of the country.
Most visitors driving to Maturin will arrive here via the highway that links Ciudad Bolivar/Ciudad Guayana, on the Orinoco, and Cumana' on the Caribbean coast. Having spent considerable time crossing the Orinoco by ferry from San Felix to Barrancas, we drove to Maturin and stayed one night, and then continued to Cumana the next day. The highway in this area is well paved and the agricultural fields and villages along the way pleasant enough to make the drive worth the time. We found Maturin to be unexciting but pleasant city worthy of cruising around as it has a number of interesting monuments.
"Maturin is Capitol of Estado Monagas"
The city is Venezuela's 10th largest city, at about 500,000 inhabitants, the capitol of Estado Monagas, and an important agricultural-industrial city. Monagas remained for a very long time difficult to develop due to conflict between the indians and the difficulty of maintaining agriculture in the mosquito infested region. The name Maturin is believed to be that of a chief who had lost a battle to a Spanish army and who had died in 1718 at the location on the Guarapiche River, where the city was later founded. Other historians contend that the chief's name was derived from a French missionary who had been in the area, and may have in fact baptised the chief. The pueblo became a major site for conflict during the war for independence, having suffered destruction during five separate battles, the last of which was particularly bloody for the residents in the town, many of whom had been refugees from Caracas, under the command of Spanish loyalist Morales. Subsequently, civil war and disease prevented the town from developing until the discovery of oil in the early 20th century.
"Oil and Agriculture in Maturin"
The Maturin sub-basin with its southern flank composed of the Orinoco Heavy Oil belt has been known for a long time to produce a thick crude oil of high quality. The reserves in the Orinoco Belt is estimated to be the second largest in South America, after the extraordinarily rich reserves found at Lago Maracaibo. However, Monagas has also developed into a region of agriculture. During our drive through the region, we found many large farms producing citris, papaya, and passion fruit, in addition to the common staple of corn or maize found throughout Latin America. The low rolling hills that are part of the Orinoco basin must certainly have deep and rich soils, and the low mountains with small valleys leading toward the Caribbean coast are similarly disposed toward good agriculture. The highways leading to Cumana, to the Orinoco, and to Caracas are well developed and able to reliably transport these crops to market.