Plaza Independencia - images of Uruguay's main plaza

Public ceremony in Plaza Independencia
Public ceremony in
Plaza Indepdencia
Plaza Independencia, located in Montevideo, is Uruguay’s main plaza. It is one of the city’s most visited landmarks. More than any other place, it is a symbol of the State of Uruguay, and is the location of important national ceremonies.

The plaza's design is French classicism. It has a simple layout with cherub fountains set in ponds in each of it’s four corners. The centerpiece of the plaza is a bronze statue of General José Artigas, Uruguay’s national hero. The statue sits on a polished granite base and stands 17 meters tall. 

The plaza has 33 palm trees commemorating the 33 patriots who led a successful grass roots crusade for Uruguay’s independence.
Plaza Independencia as seen from a friend's apartment balcony
The original city of Montevideo started on a small peninsula with stone walls and a military citadel at the base of the peninsula to guard against land attacks. The fortifications were removed after Uruguay’s independence. Plaza Independencia was created where the citadel once stood. In fact, if you look on the ground at the plaza and you can see a painted outline where the citadel once stood.  

Plaza Independencia was originally designed by architect Carlo Zucchi in 1837 as part of the first expansion of the original city of Montevideo. This new annexation was originally called New Town, and is the same area that is now called Centro. The removal of the Old City’s wall and fort was a symbol of a new open society, looking toward the future. 

Statue of General José Atigas.
The decision to place a monument to Jose Artigas as “founder of our nation” in Plaza Independencia was made in 1882. However, it wasn't until February 1923 that the statue was finally completed and inaugurated.

 There is a bronze band around the granite base of the statue with a relief image that depicts a famous historical event called the Exodus. This was when Artigas and the people of the region who lived under his protection left Montevideo to avoid a military slaughter.

Mausoleum of General Jose Artigas in Plaza Independencia
Mausoleum of General  José Atigas in Plaza Independencia
In 1974 a decision was made to create an underground mausoleum for Artigas’s remains behind the statue in Plaza Independencia. The project was completed and opened in June of 1977.

A truncated glass pyramid allows sunlight to come down on the urn with Artigas’s remains, which is guarded by two soldiers. Important historic events that led to Uruguay’s eventual independence are shown on the concrete walls. 

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