Colonia del Sacramento, World Heritage Site by UNESCO

Colonia del Sacramento

Colonia del SacramentoIt known in the local environment such as Cologne, is the capital of the department of Colonia, Uruguay on suroestede. It is located on the north bank of the River -left- Plate, 177 kilometers from Montevideo and off the coast of Buenos Aires, Argentina, from which it is only about 50 kilometers.
It is located on the headland forming the tip of San Pedro and Santa Rita. Its old town’s historic district, comprising 12 hectares of the western end of town, was declared a World Heritage Site in 1995 illustrating the successful fusion of Portuguese, Spanish and post-colonial styles. The plane is of Portuguese origin and contrasts with the standard prescribed by the Spanish law on the West Indies. It is characterized by its narrow cobblestone streets, adding to its military tradition.
Its proximity to the city of Buenos Aires strongly linked to it. There are many travelers who come and go to that destination and also the inhabitants of Buenos Aires that have properties there. There is a project to link both banks through a binational bridge. The distance between the two cities across the Libertador General San Martín Bridge is about 500 kilometers.

Cologne’s history is intertwined with the history of Uruguay.  As in any other Uruguayan town, breathes historic Colonia del Sacramento, as its chief charm and attraction. In the Old Town houses and monuments of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, which makes this legendary district in Heritage UNESCO preserved.

Brief history and evolution of Colonia del Sacramento

In constant conflict with the Spanish colonizers, the Portuguese chose this strategic point of the River Plate coast to establish their first colony in the region. The oldest city in the country was founded in 1680 by Manuel Lobo on the peninsula of San Gabriel, where the entrance to the Uruguay and Parana rivers were controlled. In addition to founding the “Nova Colonia do Sacramento” Lobo appropriated the Martin Garcia Island and San Gabriel.
Conflicts with Spain by colonial boundaries marked the history of the city over a century, we went from one domain to another several times. The mix of architectural styles accompanied this story of fighting. From his Portuguese origin preserving its unique path in Uruguay: Military narrow streets, Spanish style with contrasting checkerboard.
In 1777, the Treaty of San Ildefonso gave Spain the control of the city until 1820, when new invasions Portuguese colony joined the Empire of Brazil. In 1828, after the Portuguese defeat at the Battle of Ituzaingó and the declaration of independence of Uruguay, Colonia is unoccupied for Portugal and joins the new Republic. From countless colonial buildings like the Street of Sighs, the Viceroy’s House, the Mother Church, the ruins of the Convento San Francisco Gate and the Citadel are preserved.

Historic center

The historic center of Cologne was declared World Heritage by UNESCO in 1995. Its architecture is a fusion of Spanish architectural styles, Portuguese and post-colonial. The unique preservation of the environment has allowed the use of its streets and outdoor in several period films like That unspoken (1993) by Maria Luisa Bemberg, with Marcello Mastroianni as the protagonist. The “Street of Sighs” is one of the most typical and famous.
In Punta de San Pedro is the lighthouse which was built in 1857 and consists of a masonry tower painted white with ruins of an old building as. It has a dome with red and white radial stripes. Its focal height is 34 meters above sea level, and its characteristic is a flash of white light every 9 seconds still visible 6.4-mile time claro.3
Halfway between the walls, also called “Gateway Country” Gate of the Citadel of the historic town and the harbor, is the old railway station in Cologne.

 Street of Sighs

The Street of Sighs is undoubtedly the most emblematic of Colonia del Sacramento and possibly the cutest walking around the Uruguay. Narrow, made of cobblestones that survive from the colonial era, this Portuguese side street is the main artery of the Historic District, surrounded by old buildings and the River Plate as a backdrop.
The romance that emanates from the Street of Sighs then makes us understand his name, although the origins of the name are not clear. Some versions say that the “sighs” were issued by the convicts sentenced to death, who passed through this path way to the river for execution. Others assert that the name comes from living here, formerly prostitutes, they aroused the sighs of lonely men. Some point to the whistling of the wind, heard on the street sloping seem sighs. And the most tragic legend, an enamored young man waiting for her lover in the evening, she was killed by emitting a long sigh, every full moon listening.
Whatever the origin of Sighs, the issue probably tourists breathing indescribable mystical Street, formerly Ansina and Montevideo Chico. Everything in this pedestrian falls: the vintage colors of the popular houses of 1700, the irregular shapes of the stones wedge, the descent to the river, the dim streetlights. Some of the homes keep art galleries and craft shops. Period characters are often willing to take pictures with visitors actually transporting them to another time.

Recovery historic center

After nearly 200 years, today called Historic Quarter of Colonia del Sacramento was “ruin, destruction and abandonment”, as mentioned in the research project “From prostitute to madam. The recent history of Colonia del Sacramento.” It was “a forgotten place and the last place anyone would choose to live.” At night, “the owners of the streets (…) were prostitutes and their customers.” During the day, were seen among those who survived ruinas.4
In 1968 Federico García Capurro and Jorge Otero Mendoza convinced President Jorge Pacheco Areco the importance of recovering the historical district. Until then, various initiatives have taken place, but none had been successful and had been confined to specific interventions, such as took place in the Cathedral, in the early ’50s, driven by water leaks.
On October 10, 1968 Pacheco signed the decree by which the Honorary Executive Board for the Preservation and Reconstruction of Ancient Colonia del Sacramento (CEH) was established and assigned the appropriate resources to start obras.4
The project included the reconstruction of all visible today wall (in 1968 it was not), Puerta de Campo (was rebuilt with some original and new stones), the Spanish Museum, the Portuguese Museum, the House of Nacarello the Indian Museum, House of Viceroy, in the ruins of the convent; among other interventions that recovered the historic district.
The members of CEH and responsible for carrying out the restoration work were: Fernando O. Assunção (Chairman and replacing Santayana Pardo originally named), Roger Vila Fusco, Miranda Dutra Artigas, Pedro Costa, Leandro Esteban Gómez and Miguel Angel odriozola. The latter, born in Cologne, was responsible for the direction of the work. As an honorary member of the HSC, and in recognition of the project initiative was named Jorge Otero Mendoza.4
The works were ready to be opened in 1972.

Real de San Carlos

El Real de San Carlos is the area on the outskirts of Cologne where the Spanish troops besieged the fortress Portuguese in 1761. Its name is a tribute to King Carlos III of Spain. It has a small chapel dedicated to St. Benedict of Palermo, the first black saint of the Catholic Church. It is now a residential area with many houses weekend, where you can enjoy quiet beaches on the Rio de la Plata to fine sands.
The Real de San Carlos was developed in the early twentieth century, initiated by Argentine businessman Nicholas Mihanovich, a resort, now sad neglect, which had a hotel-casino (which was only built a “Supplement”), Plaza de Toros, Basque pelota court (the largest in South America) and its own power plant.

 Zona Franca

Over the River Plate and 600 meters from the Port of Colonia Colonia Free Zone is located in an area of 22 ha. It was created in 1923 by the Uruguayan government. In 1994 his farm was privatized.

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