• Colombia!

    Colombia: Caribbean Sea coast. Go Now!

    Although most of the people live inland, Colombia also has its share of coastline along the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea (pictured). Go Now!

  • Ecuador!

    Ecuador: Sally Lightfoot Crab. Go Now!

    The Galapagos Islands and Ecuador are home to incredible wildlife, such as the famous Galapagos Turtle and the lesser known, but more common Red Rock or Sally Lightfoot crab (pictured). Begin Your Journey!

  • Chile!

    Chile: Torres del Paine National Park. Go Now!

    The Andes dominate much of Chile, including the breath-taking Torres del Paine National Park (pictured). However, the country also hosts the world's driest desert and a thriving metropolis. Begin Your Journey!

  • Venezuela!

    Venezuela: Los Roques. Go Now!

    Rooted in Europe, Venezuela boasts an impressive history, culture, and beauty, including the Caribbean Coast (pictured). Explore Venezuela!

  • Bolivia!

    Bolivia: Salt flats. Go Now!

    This hidden gem is full of surprises, from the impressive salt flats (pictured) to the migrating flamingos. It also clings to the most historic indigenous culture on the continent. Explore Bolivia!

Architecture of Uruguay

The pre-Columbian architecture in Uruguay was simple, but little to no original architecture from this time period remains. Many of the people were semi-nomadic so they never built permanent structures. For these people and those that were more settled, the primary focus of building was in the form of housing. These houses were simple in nature and used the local materials available. Due to their construction of natural degradable materials these historic structures have been replaced by more modern materials and styles.

With the arrival of the Europeans came new architectural styles and designs. The town of Colonia del Sacramento is one of the best examples of colonial architecture in Uruguay as there are definite influences from both Portugal and Spain. The entire district of Barrio Historico is filled with colonial homes and shops, especially along Calle de los Suspiros. The town's colonial highlight is probably Casa Nacarello.

Few other places in Uruguay compare to Colonia del Sacramento in the way of colonial architecture, although Montevideo also has its fair share from the colonial days. After gaining independence in the early 1800s the country was slow to build large construction projects of note. This began to change at the turn of the century in about 1900.

Just north of Colonia del Sacramento is a large complex in Real de San Carlos, built as a tourist attraction during this time. The highlight is perhaps the giant bullring, but the nearby hotel and racetrack are just as interesting, if only because the bullring has not been operational since Uruguay outlawed bull fighting shortly after it was built. Again, other than this complex there is little architecture of note until later in the century.

A city with more modern architecture, along with some experimentation of architecture is Punta del Este. Perhaps the most impressive architectural feat is Casa Pueblo just outside of town in Punta Ballena. This unconventional shaped house is quite unusually as it also boasts great views. However, the more popular landmark in Punta del Este is the giant hand sculpture coming out of the sand.

Despite the lack of architectural masterpieces, the capital of Montevideo boasts a decent mix of buildings from nearly every time period as it is home to colonial architecture as well as a fairly modern skyline.

This page was last updated: February, 2013