Ciudad Vieja, the Old Town of Montevideo, or Old City as it is more correctly translated, was once all of Montevideo. But the walls protecting the city came down in 1829 and the city grew and now Ciudad Vieja is just one neighbourhood.
But it remains the most diverse and interesting.
The Old City is full of art galleries, antique shops, auction houses, enchanting book stores, quaint bars, historic cafes and most of the capital’s best restaurants.
And it has one of the most socio-economically diverse populations — the well-off rub shoulders with the poor, bankers with street people — like in no other neighbourhood in Montevideo.
The Old City Blossoms
With these social and economic differences in mind, a group of neighbours of the Old City organise events, especially for young people, to bring together locals –and tourists as well– under the banner Ciudad Vieja Florece, the Old City Blossoms or Flourishes.
This was last weekend’s event which started at midday and went on till 7pm.
It included art-deco arquitecture tours and tango dancing exhibitions in the Colonial Square, chess, art activities and a mobile lending library for little ones, carnival and drumming demonstrations and live music. The neighbours also organised a photography competition which received entries from all over Uruguay.
The live music included local tango star, Monica Navarro (pictured first row on the right, below).
Live music in the Old Town
Rumberos MVD play salsa and Cuban timba and really got the crowd going. If you are wondering, afro-Uruguayans make up 5% of the population. As I was working the stage area, this little video is an insider’s view!
Dilma Rousseff y Los Ocultistas
La Ventolera mix Uruguayan candombe songs and rhythms (check out at candombe drumming) with wind instruments. Most of the players come from classical music backgrounds!
Photos: Ciudad Vieja Florece