Gateway of the Citadel in Montevideo, Uruguay
The Puerta de la Ciudadela (Gateway to the Citadel) is one of the few remaining parts of a Spanish citadel that was destroyed in the early 1800s when Uruguay became an independent nation.
The citadel was built by the Spanish to help them gain control of the Rio de la Plata, a vast estuary which today forms part of the border between Uruguay and Argentina.
While the Spanish had a thriving city called Buenos Aires on the other side of this massive river (140 miles wide), the Portuguese had built a strong fort upstream in Colonia del Sacramento. And, as it was in the early history of the world, both Spain and Portugal desired control of the river because it served access to the gold and silver found in Peru and other northern South American lands.
The Puerta de la Ciudadela sits on the outer edge of the Plaza Independencia ( Independence Square), with a monument and statue of José Gervasio Artigas, Uruguay’s national hero who defeated the Spanish and subsequently birthed the new nation of Uruguay in 1828.
I shot this photograph as we strolled from the Montevideo Metropolitan Cathedral to the Plaza Independencia and greatly enjoyed the city views, street vendors hawking their local wares, travelers from around the world enjoying the local flavors, and the opportunity to learn about the history of these wonderful people.
When you visit Montevideo, Uruguay, make certain to leave yourselves a few hours to explore this area and the surrounding environs.
Disclosure: we experienced Montevideo with a customed itinerary and private guide provided by the good folks at Kensington Tours. Thanks!
If you enjoyed this article, sign up for our monthly newsletter to keep abreast of our best travel tips, on-location reviews, exclusive travel offers, group travel events, and much more.