18
Mar
2013

montevideo: avenida 18 de julio

Montevideo, Avenida 18 de Julio

When Buenos Aires declared independence for the entire Viceroyalty, Montevideo remained loyal to the Spanish crown. BA apparently didn’t consult their neighbors… some things never change! No matter. Montevideo grew as a result, but 18 years later they also broke away. What initially began as a small port town…

Montevideo, early city plan

…eventually grew the only direction it could: inland. Fortress walls came down, & the grid expanded to add another 160 blocks to the city:

Montevideo, ensanche

Officials wanted to connect the Ciudad Vieja to a primitive highway leading east to the Atlantic Ocean. Made perfect military sense. As years went by, improvement to the avenue became a priority, & modern times gave Montevideo some of its most iconic structures. Plaza de la Independencia bridges the gap between old & new. The Teatro Solís, presidential offices, a bit of Art Deco, a mausoleum to founding father Artigas & the Palacio Salvo—Mario Palanti’s twin to the Palacio Barolo in Buenos Aires—make a grand, if somewhat overprotected, public space.

Montevideo, Plaza de la Independencia, Palacio Estévez

Montevideo, Plaza de la Independencia, Palacio Rinalde, Art Deco

Montevideo, Plaza de la Independencia, Artigas, mausoleo

Montevideo, Plaza de la Independencia, Palacio Salvo, Mario Palanti

Montevideo, Plaza de la Independencia, Palacio Salvo, Mario Palanti

Montevideo, Plaza de la Independencia, Palacio Salvo, Mario Palanti

Montevideo, Plaza de la Independencia

Just one block away the monstrosities begin. How can anyone think a non-descript office building like this is worthy of being next to the Palacio Salvo?!

Montevideo, Avenida 18 de Julio

At least many wonderful buildings have been preserved, like the 1933 Edificio Lapido. Awesome Racionalismo. Nearby Plaza Fabini provides an oasis of green with cooling fountains while the Edificio Rex & the Edificio London-Paris stand guard. Popular beer & hot dog joint La Pasiva—tucked into a former mod Banco de Londres building—is great for a quick break.

Montevideo, Avenida 18 de Julio, Edificio Lapido, Racionalismo

Montevideo, Avenida 18 de Julio, Plaza Fabini

Montevideo, Avenida 18 de Julio, Edificio London-Paris

Montevideo, Avenida 18 de Julio, Plaza Fabini, Edificio London-Paris

Montevideo, Avenida 18 de Julio, Plaza Fabini, ex-Banco de Londres, La Pasiva

Montevideo, Avenida 18 de Julio, Plaza Fabini, ex-Banco de Londres, La Pasiva

The Museo del Gaucho, built by Alfred Massüe, adds a touch of refined, French architecture. Other buildings along the avenue include the Palacio Brasil, Art Nouveau curves & tilework on the Edificio Café Montevideo, a fountain where couples place padlocks in the hope their love will be as bonding, & the Art Deco Palacio Díaz. Such variety is incredible to see.

Montevideo, Avenida 18 de Julio, Museo del Gaucho, Alfred Massüe, Palacio Uriarte de Heber

Montevideo, Avenida 18 de Julio, Palacio Brasil

Montevideo, Avenida 18 de Julio, Edificio Café Montevideo

Montevideo, Avenida 18 de Julio, padlock fountain

Montevideo, Avenida 18 de Julio, Palacio Díaz, Art Deco

Rising above all other buildings, the Palacio Municipal (town hall) is one of the most open & inviting public buildings I’ve seen. The exterior may not be anything special, but there’s a beautiful copy of the “Winged Victory of Samothrace” inside, rotating art exhibits & a mirador with 360º views of the city. No place better shows the balanced mix of green & grey that characterizes Montevideo.

Tip: get free tickets for the viewpoint in the TI just outside (although no one ever asked us for them!):

Montevideo, Avenida 18 de Julio, Palacio Municipal

Montevideo, Avenida 18 de Julio, Palacio Municipal, panorama, mirador

Montevideo, Avenida 18 de Julio, Palacio Municipal, panorama, mirador

Montevideo, Avenida 18 de Julio, Palacio Municipal, panorama, mirador

Next to the Palacio Municipal, a fantastic Racionalista apartment building competes for attention. Movistar does its best to distract as well, but the Monumento al Gaucho is the real star.

Montevideo, Avenida 18 de Julio, Edificio Tagle, Racionalismo

Montevideo, Avenida 18 de Julio, Movistar

Montevideo, Avenida 18 de Julio, Monumento al Gaucho

A few random buildings saved from demolition… many more to be discovered:

Montevideo, Avenida 18 de Julio

Montevideo, Avenida 18 de Julio

Montevideo, Avenida 18 de Julio

The Plaza de los Bomberos hides a surprise: a 1922 fire station. Other buildings with caryatids & domes can be found nearby.

Montevideo, Avenida 18 de Julio, Plaza de los Bomberos, Cuartel de Bomberos

Montevideo, Avenida 18 de Julio

Tired yet? Keep walking! The avenida doesn’t disappoint: statues, the national university, the Ministry of Health… it goes on & on.

Montevideo, Avenida 18 de Julio

Montevideo, Avenida 18 de Julio, universidad

Montevideo, Avenida 18 de Julio, Ministerio de Salud Pública

The Avenida 18 de Julio is easily one of my favorite thoroughfares for its eclectic character, grandeur & surprising amount of preserved architectural heritage. So what happened on July 18th that was so important? Uruguay adopted its first constitution in 1830… a remarkable avenue for a remarkable event.

—————————————————

Montevideo series: First impressions Ciudad Vieja Avenida 18 de Julio Pocitos Cementerio Central Palacio Legislativo La Aguada Parque Rodó El PradoFinal thoughts

Comments ( 2 )

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *