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Culture and Heritage

To contemplate unique examples of art deco style, to decipher candombe, to indulge in the specifities of Uruguayan tango or to discover why some Uruguayan landmarks have earned the UNESCO distinction, are just some of the cultural and heritage tourism alternatives that visitors can enjoy in Uruguay.

As an introduction, it can be said that folk traditions, indigenous ancestors, the Afro-Uruguayan heritage and the import of European immigrant customs have turned Uruguayan cultural expressions into a rich and diverse heritage.

Tango is recognized as one of the greatest cultural contributions of the River Plate region to the world. It embraces dance, music, song and poetry at the same time. In September 2009, it was declared as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.

Unquestionably, Uruguayan Carnival is another feature of the local culture that deserves the attention of visitors. It is the longest in the world and features a colorful array of parades and shows that start in late January and continue until mid-March.

Candombe is part of this great celebration and is one of the most popular expressions of Uruguayans. Its roots go back to the arrival of African slaves in Montevideo during colonial times. In 2009, along with tango, it was also proclaimed as Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.

Uruguayan theater is one of the most important in Latin America. The country has more than 70 operating theater rooms with a remarkably extensive and varied billboard including classic and modern plays for the most diverse tastes.

Uruguay also offers a wide range of museums and cultural centers where visitors can appreciate the work of national artists such as Juan Manuel Blanes, Rafael Barradas, Pedro Figari, Joaquín Torres García and José Cúneo, among others.

At the architectural level, Uruguay preserves unique examples of Art Nouveau and Art Deco styles, which are hardly seen in other parts of the world. Other architectural landmarks are the famous creations in reinforced ceramics and brick by engineer Eladio Dieste, which have aroused the interest of worldwide architects.

In addition, Uruguay has two sites which have been proclaimed Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO. On the one hand, the historic neighborhood of Colonia del Sacramento, which has been recognized since 1995 for its peculiar fusion of Portuguese, Spanish and post-colonial styles. On the other hand, the former meat packing plant of Frigorífico Anglo in the city of Fray Bentos, which became part of the privileged list in mid-2015 as an exceptional example of the evolution of the social and economic structure of the 19th and 20th centuries in the region.

In short, Uruguayan cultural and heritage options are diverse and any time of the year is ideal to discover and enjoy them.

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