ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Visiting the Custom House, Villa Soriano, Uruguay: the cry of historic sovereignty projected across waters to friends!

Updated on February 10, 2016
Flag of Uruguay
Flag of Uruguay | Source
Frontage of the Custom House, Villa Soriano
Frontage of the Custom House, Villa Soriano | Source
The former Hotel Olivera after restoration.
The former Hotel Olivera after restoration. | Source

Hear the cry across two centuries!

This fine building in Villa Soriano, situated in Uruguay's Mercedes department, dates from 1860.

So, why the intriguing title?

Well, all the elements in the title are here at this building in this, Uruguay's oldest surviving European settlement.

The building — formerly the Hotel Olivera (1) — serves as a Custom House: the authority to levy dues on goods entering the national territory is among the most poignant of sovereignty symbols.

The locality has associations with the national liberator, General José Gervasio Artigas. The Department of Soriano at Agraciada Beach — south of Villa Soriano — is the much remembered site of the landing of the Thirty Three (Spanish: Treinta y Tres) patriots in 1825.

These patriots are noted for having crossed from the Entre Ríos province of Argnetina on the other side of the Uruguay River from what is now Soriano Department. The flag of don José is also almost identical with the provincial flag of Entre Ríos.

And so the local geography is bound up with Uruguayan memories of events in the early 19th century; when popular support for the independence of Uruguay (previously called la Banda Oriental - the Eastern Shore) and of neighbouring Argentina was strong.

Interestingly, over 200 yachts and vessels are expected on an annual basis at Villa Soriano, giving rise to the function of the Custom House. The restored quayside stands nearby; Villa Soriano is located near the confluence of the Negro and Uruguay Rivers.

And the reference to the 'cry'? Well, the motto of Villa Soriano is Oiremos el clamor de la patria (roughly translated: 'We shall hear the cry of the fatherland'): in the early 19th century, the local inhabitants of both sides of the Uruguay River were engaged in a similar enterprise.

So when many Argentinians visit Villa Soriano, it recalls, at least symbolically, an historic partnership between the two peoples, played out in the 19th century; hence the reference to 'friends' in the title.

The former Hotel Olivera was refurbished in recent years and today, in addition to its rôle as a Custom House, it also houses offices of the Uruguayan navy and acts as a centre for visitor information.

Among its crowning features is its series of elegant, Syrian arches at its frontage, six in all; the main entrance is square-shaped.

The building is situated at the intersection of Cabildo and La Costanera streets.

Yes, I made up the title! but I think it does reflect some local themes and realities, bound up with this building and location.

February 10, 2016

Note

(1) The existence of a hotel, for which this fine building formerly served, recalls that at the beginning of this 20th century the population of Villa Soriano (formerly known as Santo Domingo de Soriano) was over 6,000; today, it has shrunk to barely a fifth of this.


Map location of Soriano Deparment, Uruguay
Map location of Soriano Deparment, Uruguay | Source

Also worth seeing

In Villa Soriano itself, other noteworthy features include the old Chapel of Santo Domingo and the Casa de los Marfetán, said to be the oldest existing building in the village, now a museum.

...

How to get there: LanChile flies to Montevideo's Carrasco International Airport (Spanish: Aeropuerto Internacional de Carrasco) Uruguay from North American destinations including New York and Toronto. Villa Soriano lies 45 kilometres from the departmental capital Mercedes, itself 278 kilometres from Montevideo. By road, the village lies on Ruta 96. Car rental is available at Montevideo Carrasco airport. Some facilities may be withdrawn, without notice. Please check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.

Of interest to visitors

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)