The modern and refined city of Montevideo, is often described as a vibrant, eclectic place, with a rich cultural life

The modern and refined city of Montevideo is a vibrant, eclectic place, with a rich cultural life. The Ciudad Vieja contains the remains of the colonial walled city, with cobbled pedestrian streets and the Teatro Solis, Uruguay's most important theatre. Next to the industrial area of the port, at the end of the peninsula, is the incomparable Mercado del Puerto, filled with restaurants serving grilled meat - an excellent place for lunch. Plaza Independencia is a wide tree-lines square which marks the boundary between the Old City and the downtown, and is home to the monument and mausoleum of Jose Artigas, a Uruguayan national hero. The main avenue of the city centre (which boasts many grand neoclassical and government buildings) leads to the Centenary Park; a huge green space with a monumental obelisk.

Along the southern coastline of the city are the upmarket and fashionable areas of Punta Carretas and Pocitos, with many excellent restaurants, shopping, pleasant avenues for strolling, and the city's golf course and yacht club. Now considered the second safest capital city in the world, Montevideo combines mid 20th century coffee shops and the large colonial houses with large open patios. The 18 de Julio Avenue is the city's main street and the seafront Rambla is perfect for a leisurely stroll.

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