Montevideo - Attractions
Mercado Del Puerto
Montevideo's port market was the continent's finest when it opened back in 1868, but today it survives on personality and atmosphere, of which it still has plenty. The old port market building is an impressive wrought-iron superstructure which houses outstanding seafood restaurants as well as the more traditional grills that sell parillas (choose your cut off the grill). If you like your food carnivorous, this place will set the drool glands racing. It's open only in the afternoons, and Saturday is a particularly lively and colourful day, with artists, craftspeople and street musicians plying their trade and just hanging out with other Uruguayans. For the thirsty, there is also the Montevideo speciality medio y medio, a popular knockout blend of sparkling and white wines.
Museo Histórico Nacional
The national history museum is actually four different Ciudad Vieja houses, mostly former residences of national heroes. Casa Lavalleja, built in the late 18th century, was the home of General Juan Lavalleja whose rebellious campaigns against the occupying Brazilians eventually led to the creation of Uruguay. Casa Rivera belonged to Uruguay's first president, General Fructuoso Rivera. Casa Garibaldi was home to the Italian patriot who commanded the Uruguayan navy from 1843-51. The Museo Romantico is filled with paintings and antiques and still retains some of its original colonial style.
The neoclassical legislature, dating back to 1908, was constructed from an original design by Victor Meano. Brilliantly lit at night, the three-storey building is one of the Montevideo's most impressive landmarks. There are guided tours available in English and Spanish.
With a proud tradition in theatre and arts, Uruguay is justifiably proud of its Teatro Solís, with its superb acoustics and a quality roster of local and international performers. Named after the first Spaniard to set foot in what is now Uruguayan territory, the theatre opened in 1856. It's certainly worth catching a show here.