Admire the neoclassical architecture and elegant interior of this historic cathedral and then spot the tombs of famous Uruguayan dignitaries.
With its striking twin towers, the Catedral Metropolitana de Montevideo (Montevideo Metropolitan Cathedral) is one of Montevideo’s true architectural masterpieces. Visit the cathedral to admire its dominating façade and intricate interior design. Afterwards, look for the tombs of distinguished Uruguayan figures.
The cathedral stands on the site of a church built during the Spanish colonial period. Today’s building dates back to 1790 and was previously called Iglesia Matriz (Matriz Church). The cathedral took on its present name in 1897, when it received the status as a metropolitan cathedral. During the same year, the cathedral witnessed the assassination of a former Uruguayan president, Juan Idiarte Borda.
Stand back from the cathedral’s grand entrance and admire the building’s neoclassical architecture, crowned by two bell towers. Look for the statues of saints, angels and other heavenly characters. Step inside and marvel at the pristine interior decorations. Spot religious artwork by national artists such as José Luis Zorrilla de San Martín and Juan Manuel Blanes. Check out the arcaded nave and gilded altarpiece. Go to the side altar to see a worshipped image of Uruguay’s patron saint, the Virgin of the Thirty-Three.
Scattered around the cathedral’s interior are the crypts of clerics, political leaders and former presidents. Among these are the two-time president Venancio Flores and Jacinto Vera, who was Montevideo’s first Catholic bishop.
The Catedral Metropolitana de Montevideo faces Plaza Constitucion, in the heart of Montevideo’s Ciudad Vieja. Public buses stop nearby and it is a short walk from other major city attractions. These include the Palacio Salvo (Salvo Palace) and the Mercado del Puerto food market. Combine your visit with a stroll along Peatonal Sarandí. This pedestrianized street is home to city landmarks, art galleries, cafés and artisanal street vendors.
The cathedral is open from Monday to Friday. It remains an active place of worship so visitors are expected to dress appropriately and remain quiet. Visit the cathedral’s official website for information on services, cultural events and concerts.