We paused here while walking about the city and enjoyed the fascinating architecture of some of the surrounding buildings. Photographers, be sure to have your zoom lens so you can capture the width of the square as well as building details.
Originally the site of a Spanish citadel, Independence Square marks the beginning of the Old City, and it's a good point from which to begin your tour of Montevideo. Only one gate to the old fortress remains on the Plaza. An enormous statue of Gen. José Gervasio Artigas, father of Uruguay and hero of its independence movement, stands in the center. His ashes are displayed in a mausoleum underground beneath the monument. It's a severe, modern structure with eerie lighting reminiscent of a horror movie. A changing-of-the-guards ceremony takes place every few hours. You'd be lucky to catch it.
The old government house on the south side and Radisson Hotel on the north frame the square’s main feature, a 17 meter high equestrian statue of Uruguay’s version of San Martin, Jose Gervasio Artigas. Below ground, a 24-hour guard watches over Artigas’ remains. Artigas had been a soldier of the colonial guard, which watched over the western Uruguayan borders protecting from the odd Indian or Portugese. With the rebellion of 25 May 1810 in BsAs, similar sentiments came over to this side of the river. In 1811, Artigas was commissioned in the patriot army, in BsAs, and returned to lead the fight in the Banda Oriental, slowly moving on the royalist center here in Montevideo. Artigas became a very popular figure much to the dismay of the Unitarians in BsAs. After several twists and turns, Artigas – with help from BsAs – captured Montevideo in 1814. He had always hoped for a confederation of equal provinces and became a leading voice for Federalism. The Unitarian launched a couple of forays across the river at him, which he defeated, and he proclaimed Uruguay, Entre Rios, Corrientes and Santa Fe to be the League of Free Peoples of the Littoral with himself as Protector. Not a dictator in the true sense of the word, he preferred to work through local cabildos. He is best known for his attempts to break up large haciendas to give unused lands to some of his humble followers, but what really scared the porteno Unitarians was his naïve belief that government by the people should include everyone – even the lower classes and Indians. The people in BsAs were only to glad to see the Portugese invade Uruguay in 1816, watching as Artigas finally fled Uruguay in 1820 living the last 30 years of his life in a Paraguayan exile.
Instead of taking the city tour we opted to explore on our own thisis an easy city to walk about ,taxis are cheap and plentifulif you venture too far.
Our first stop was the famous Plaza independence. this is popular with locals and tourists. It features a monument in the center as atribute to the great heroes from
The always busy Plaza Independencia is the heart of Montevideo and contains a number of important buildings as well as an impressive statue of Uruguayan hero Jose Artigas. Our hostel was on one corner of the square and we had a balcony overlooking it giving us a great view.
Artigas is buried under the square and you can visit his mausoleum taking the steps down the sides of the statue.
The building in the south-east corner, Palacio Salvo, was once the tallest in South America and it still dominates the square today.
Also look out for the city's main theater, Teatro Solis, and Puerta de la Ciudadela, the atmospheric old ruins of a gateway which marks the entrance to the old town.
Uruguay's military hero, Jose Artigas, is buried beneath the main square, Plaza Independencia, where you can visit his mausoleum. Two guards stand on either side of an urn, while each of the surrounding walls contains some information about significant moments in his life, printed in huge letters.
Above the mausoleum, in the middle of the square is a huge statue, weighting over 30 tonnes, of Artigas. Artigas led the fight first against the Spanish and later against the Brazilians in order to secure Uruguayan independence in 1828.
The statue of Uruguay's national hero, General José Gervasio Artigas, mounted on a horse, dominates Plaza Independencia. The horse is significant as it is said that Artigas, as he was dying, asked for a horse and died as a gaucho.
Beneath the statue is his mausoleum. There are many other statues of Artigas, the Father of Uruguayan Independence, in Uruguay itself and around the world, including one in Washington D.C., but the one in Plaza Independencia is the most famous of them all.
José Gervasio Artigas is Uruguay's national hero. He was born in Montevideo and although he lived and fought in several South American countries, he is known as the Father of Uruguayan Independence. From 1806 to 1807 he took part in the resistance to the British invasion of Buenos Aires. From 1811 he resisted the Spanish invasion of Uruguay until, totally outnumbered by the colonial forces, he withdrew to Paraguay in 1820, where he died thirty years later. His ashes are kept in an urn which is on display inside an impressive underground mausoleum, watched over by an honour guard.
It is open to the public from 9am to 5pm and admission is free.
Between the old and the new city centre lies the Plaza Independencia.
In the middle of the square stand the big statue of Artigas, hero of Uruguay.
Take the stairs below ground, and here you can find 24-hour guards, watching over Artigas’ remains (they won't move, even if you try..)
The Plaza Independencia marks the beginning of the Old City and was originally the site of a Spanish citadel featuring a huge statue of General José Gervasio Artigas who is the hero of the country’s independent movement. His ashes are located in a mausoleum under the monument.
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