Thursday, September 10, 2009

Artigas' Mausoleum

If you are ever in Montevideo you need to visit the mausoleum of Artigas, Uruguay's national hero. But you may need to visit fast.

In the center of Plaza de Independencia is a statue of the beloved Artigas on a horse. This plaza is the heart of the city. Below the ground, down a few stairs, his body rests in well-guarded box. Two stoic, statuesque soldiers always stand by in full regalia guarding his remains. They don't move, ever. Even if you dance in front of the them waving your hands, they still won't recognize your presence. In the rest of the mausoleum, the lighting and block letters on the walls provide a very distinctive ambiance, that I find to be quite appealing.

Recently there has been some chatter about moving Artigas' eternal resting place because the mausoleo was built during the dictatorship in Uruguay. Some declare this is a political move, other say it is necessary to commemorate Artigas appropriately. No matter what the issue, when Artigas is involved, there is sure to be a firey discussion.

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