During my stay in Uruguay, before taking the ferry to return to Buenos Aires, I had the opportunity to visit the small city of Colonia del Sacramento thanks to the City Tour through the Historic District. Colonia is known mainly for this center full of old buildings and is also noted on the UNESCO World Heritage List. For both of these reasons, the city attracts many tourists every year.
The tour started at the door of the old walled city, at 3:00 p.m. The guide, Federico, very nice and passionate, began by explaining why this site was so important in history an especially to the Portuguese and the Spanish.
After sharing a short history of Colonia with us, he had us enter the walls of the city founded by the Portuguese in 1680, to show us the architectural differences between the Portuguese and Spanish buildings of each period of occupation in the city. He also told us some anecdotes and we entered the Calle de los Suspiros, where we saw an old Portuguese-style house restored with techniques and materials from that time. There is a local artist in this house who sells some of his works, mainly paintings.
Later on, we went to the square that was used in the colonial era for inspections and military parades. The ruins of the governor’s house that the Spaniards destroyed after the last capture of the city can also be found a few meters away. Next to the governor’s house, you can see the historic church of Colonia del Sacramento; very well maintained and restored.
Some of the tourists on the tour didn’t speak Spanish and the guide translated all the content of the tour in English. Because of this, they increased the length of the itinerary a little to have enough time for explanation in each place we visited. Also, Federico took the time to answer all our questions and gave us suggestions for restaurants and other interesting sites to visit in Colonia.
Although the historical center of Cologne is quite small, this guided city walk allows you to discover much of the historical richness and to get a better understanding of the development of the city up until today, all thanks to the information provided by the guide. I highly recommend this tour if you’re passing through Colonia because it’s a really unique location in Uruguay.
By: Simon Ortiz