Tag: history

Some Atlántida architecture and history

It was a beautiful day Monday for taking pictures.

Atlántida started in 1911 as a summer playground for wealthy Montevideans, and the architecture reflects that.


Along the Rambla La Mansa:

House in Atlántida, Uruguay

House in Atlántida, Uruguay House in Atlántida, Uruguay

There are a number of whimsical houses, including this one that I’ve never seen occupied on the Rambla La Brava:


House in Atlántida, Uruguay

And then there’s Edificio El Planeta.


First, a quick Spanish lesson: el planeta means the planet, and it seems like it should be la planeta. There a few Spanish words that don’t play well with rules.

Built in the 1930s in just one year (did Uruguayans once work fast?), it served as Planeta Palace Hotel until 1954. It looks like a ship preparing to steam out to sea, and was very fancy in its day, with private baths, hot water, and heating (heating? In Uruguay?). After the hotel’s closure, it was divided and sold as  propiedad horizontal (i.e., condos). It was declared a national historical monument in 2005.

El Planeta, Atlántida, Uruguay



The art gallery

We normally don’t spend a lot of time in art galleries.

Contemporary ceramics on display, Montevideo, Uruguay

Yesterday was an exception.

Contemporary ceramics on display, Montevideo, Uruguay

The current show features five contemporary ceramic artists,

Contemporary ceramics on display, Montevideo, Uruguay

Contemporary ceramics on display, Montevideo, Uruguay

each with a unique “voice,” as the introduction states.

each with a unique “voice,” as the introduction stated.

The gallery has a skylight, which casts dramatic shadows.

Mexican Embassy, Montevideo, Uruguay

The setting, an old building with exposed brick and very old beams, is quite lovely. Not a bad place to spend an hour when you have no choice.

And we had no choice. We were waiting for legal papers. Specifically, a power of attorney to sell some property in Mexico.

What’s that got to do with an art gallery?

All the pictures above are from the ground floor of the Mexican Embassy in Montevideo. When we arrived, the receptionist remember who we were, and why we were there. The consul was gracious and welcoming.

Mexican Embassy, Montevideo
The Mexican Embassy in Montevideo: warm and welcoming.

Now, I have nothing bad to say about the US Embassy personnel in Montevideo. They were in fact surprisingly accommodating when I recently renewed my passport.

US Embassy, Montevideo
US Embassy in Montevideo. Not warm and welcoming.

But one can’t help but notice the contrast, even without surrendering all personal possessions and passing through several bomb-proof doors for the privilege of entering.

Construction symbolically started on July 4, 1966. US Independence day. At that time, the diplomatic pouch from Washington, DC, sometimes included fine wires that could be inserted between teeth, in order to apply an electrical charge to the gums. No, it wasn’t for oral hygiene.

Not a pleasant story, but essential reading: Uruguay, 1964 to 1970: Torture—as American as apple pie.