Half the population of 3.3 million live in Montevideo, the capital and the most modern port in South America. At the heart of this cosmopolitan city lies the Plaza Independencia, separating downtown from the Ciudad Vieja. This is the picturesque old town, with well-preserved colonial homes and art deco architecture. The city is also one of contrasts, with smart shopping malls, fashionable beach developments and older districts in need of a little attention.
It is a vibrant, liberal cultural centre with the acknowledged highest quality of life on the continent. Near the Plaza you will find South America’s first monument to sexual diversity, with the inscription ‘honouring diversity is honouring life’, a fitting testimony to the Uruguayan way of life.
One of the finest attractions, the National History Museum, is housed in five old historical buildings. The history of this exceptional country is on display here and it is not to be missed. MAPI, the Museum of Pre-Columbian Indigenous Art is another must-see for lovers of local history and ancient culture and more can be found amongst the pretty coloured houses of the charming Barrio Reus neighbourhood.
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