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Visiting the Cerrito, Montevideo: architectural heritage and historical symbolism
The work of Architect Ernesto Vespignani, and others, built mainly between 1926 and 1938
This hill in Montevideo, Uruguay knows as the Cerrito ('little hill' in Spanish), sometimes known as the Cerrito of the Victory (Spanish: el Cerrito de la Victoria ) is thus differentiated from the more famous Cerro ('hill' in Spanish), located near the port, which originally prompted the 'Monte-' part of the city's name in the 18th century.
The Cerrito rises to a height of 72 metres and it is the site for a prime piece of ecclesiastical real estate, known as the National Sanctuary (Spanish: Santuario Nacional ). One of its influences was the Byzantine style of St Sophia, Constantinople. The building follows the design of Architect Ernesto Vespignani, with later work by architects Elzeario Boix and Horacio Terra Arocena, and was built mainly between 1926 and 1938, with the first stone having been laid in 1919.
The building is noted for its prominent dome and a series of cupolas, and for its red brick execution, which, together with its hilltop location, often catches the sun very noticeably, causing the building to glow in a most impressive way. This, in fact, is one of my abiding memories of the Cerrito.
Like Montmartre, Paris, also, the Cerrito is also prominent in other aspects of the country's history. Interestingly, the Cerrito was also the seat of an alternative, Uruguayan government in the mid-19th century, during a period of the intermittent Civil War which plagued the country for several decades.
The Cerrito was also the scene of a noted battle in Uruguayan history in 1812 between forces of the United River Plate Provinces (Spanish: Provincias Unidas del Río de la Plata ) and Spanish Royalist troops, which resulted in a victory for the United Provinces.
June 28, 2012
Also worth seeing
In Montevideo itself, visitor attractions include: Independence Square (Spanish: Plaza Independencia ), with its Artigas Mausoleum, Independence Building (the former Estévez Palace); the Ciudalela entrance, and the Palacio Salvo ; the Legislative Palace (Spanish: Palacio Legislativo); the Cerro Fortress; and many others.
How to get there: LanChile flies to Montevideo , Uruguay from North American destinations including New York and Toronto . The Uruguayan airline PLUNA, which codeshares with VARIG, flies to a number of Latin American regional destinations. Car rental is available at Montevideo Carrasco International airport. Please check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information. You are advised to consult appropriate consular sources for any special border crossing visa requirements which may apply to the holders of certain nationalities.
MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.
Other of my hubpages may also be of interest
- Visiting the historic Cerro fortress, Montevideo, Uruguay: the looming past, and fine views
- Visiting the Legislative Palace, Montevideo, Uruguay: splendour in stone
- Visiting the Main Building of the University of the Republic, Montevideo, Uruguay: monumental 1911 N
- Visiting the former Central Railroad Station, Montevideo, Uruguay: gracious structure by Luis Andreo
- Visiting the Congress Palace of the Argentinian Nation, Buenos Aires, Argentina: sedateness amidst p