Elegant Montevideo, the capital city of Uruguay, gives Royal Holiday Cruises members the chance to explore a South American city as beautiful as it is historic. As the largest city and the commercial and cultural heart of the country, Montevideo offers visitors from Royal Holiday Cruises a glimpse into the rich and passionate heritage of food, music, and dance that characterize Uruguayan life and history.
Located in Montevideo’s old town, the Palacio Taranco is a superb example of the strong French influence on the city’s late-19th-century architecture. Today, the building houses Museum of Decorative Arts, with extensive displays of period furnishings, statuary, portraiture, and other objets d’art. Throughout the year, its cultural center also hosts performances.
Museo de Historia del Arte
The extensive collection of pre-Columbian and colonial artifacts in the Museum of Art History is sure to appeal to any Royal Holiday Cruises member with an interest in Latin American art and culture. The Museum is located in the Palacio Municipal, or city hall.
The Uruguayan legislative palace is an elegant neoclassical building constructed of gleaming marble in the early 20th century. A source of national pride, it was declared a historic monument in 1975.
Museo del Carnaval
While Montevideo’s Carnaval festivities are not as famous as those in neighboring Brazil, the city’s celebrations, which last for 40 days, are worth seeing. Royal Holiday Cruises guests can view the intensive preparations and costuming that make up Uruguay’s elaborate Carnaval party at the fantastic Carnaval Museum.
Manos del Uruguay
Offering crafts and handmade woolens from several women’s cooperatives and independent artists throughout Uruguay, Manos del Uruguay has three stores in the Montevideo area. Royal Holiday Cruises visitors will find it convenient to stop in to buy a gift or two and support local crafters.
The main historic square of Montevideo was built on the site of a former Spanish fort. Today, the only remnant of that original structure is the imposing triumphal gate into the Old City. Plaza Indepencia is dominated by a massive 30-ton statue of the founder of Uruguay’s independence movement, General Jose Gervasio Artigas. Beneath this monument lies the quiet mausoleum to the general, guarded by two uniformed soldiers in period uniforms. The second-tallest building in Uruguay, the Art Deco-style Palacio Salvo, overlooks the Plaza on the north side.
Cathedral of St. Phillip and St. James
Known locally as Iglesia Matriz (or “Head Church”), the great cathedral of St. Phillip and St. James has long been an important public space in Montevideo. With its gorgeous marble, elegant stained glass, and distinctive domed bell towers, the cathedral serves as the final resting place of many influential Uruguayans. Its beauty and significance makes it a natural destination for Royal Holiday Cruises tourists.
Mercado del Puerto
For an excellent, traditional Uruguayan meal, hungry Royal Holiday Cruises guests should head to Mercado del Puerto, the restored port market. The large iron-and-glass building houses several stalls where guests can enjoy parrillas (grilled beef) and the favorite local drink, medio-y-medio, a mix of champagne and white wine. In addition, the area abounds with countless restaurants, which range from casual food to elegant cuisine.
Museo del Gaucho y la Moneda
For a fascinating look into the lifestyle of the traditional gauchos (or cowboys) of South America, Royal Holiday Cruises visitors will enjoy the Museo del Gaucho y la Moneda, the Gaucho and Coin Museum.
The World Soccer Monument
The World Soccer Monument commemorates the first-ever World Cup. The event, which was organized by the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA), was held in 1930 in Montevideo’s own Estadio Centenario.