Caracas, the capital of Venezuela, lies in a scenic location close to the Caribbean Sea, the Caracas Valley and Cerro Avila mountains.
The city was founded by the Spaniards over 400 years ago. After a lengthy occupation, independence was achieved in 1811, just a year before a massive earthquake destroyed Caracas. The city was slowly rebuilt and oil riches of the 20th century contributed to its grand appearance of today, with the modern University declared a UNESCO World Heritage building.
Caracas has several grand public squares. The recent (1983) Plaza Caracas in the Simón Bolívar Center dominates the El Silencio District with its magnificent tall towers. It is a modernist paradise, combining shopping, restaurants, business and ultra-modern city living. By contrast, Plaza Bolívar in the Old Town typifies the founding colonial past of Caracas and has several grand statues, such as the one of El Libertador Simon Bolívar, at its centre. Plaza Venezuela at the start of the University includes moving works of art and a Modernist fountain. Finally, Plaza San Jacinto, dating back to 1603, at the site of the Old Market, features statues plus an obelisk.
Some of the city’s most notable landmarks include Simon Bolívar’s birthplace, Caracas Cathedral, the Federal Capitol and the National Pantheon of Venezuela.
Caracas is home to many wonderful museums and libraries The National Library is famous for its myriad of historic volumes, including some unique biographies. The Fine Arts Museum also holds exhibits of ancient pottery, while the Museum of Colonial Art has many Hispanic (pre-independence) period pieces including furniture and stonework. The 1974 Contemporary Art Museum, the Natural Science Museum with its primitive native cultures collection, the Coin museum and the Museum of Transport are also very worthwhile visiting.
The Caracas East Park in the city’s centre, is a very pleasant verdant escape. For a 360° view of Caracas, head for the 52nd floor balcony at the West Tower.
Posted : Tuesday, August 7th, 2012 at 10:00
As well as writing about travel, Karen Bryan offers tips on saving money, frugal living and how to live well on less, on her site Help Me To Save