5 charming colonial South America cities

South America is sort of bursting on the seams on the subject of quaint colonial cities, promising a window into the previous via their timeless cobblestone streets, ornate church buildings, and tree-lined plazas. This distinctive – and completely picturesque – architectural model is owed to the colonial period, when European conquistadors from Spain and Portugal constructed cities and cities drawing influences from their residence nations. Many of those stunning colonial cities in South America have been splendidly preserved and even protected with UNESCO World Heritage standing, providing each a snapshot into the area’s heritage and a way of magic within the air. Throughout Peru, Brazil, Colombia, Argentina and Ecuador, learn on to search out out extra about a few of our favourite colonial cities in South America.

Arequipa, Peru

Peru is a rustic dripping in colonial cities, with Cusco flying the flag for the best-looking of all of them. However Arequipa, Peru’s second metropolis after Lima, quietly showcases its personal architectural gems to those that enterprise past Cusco and the Sacred Valley. Often called the ‘White Metropolis’ for its silvery partitions splayed with volcanic sillar, Arequipa is picturesque certainly, backed by the looming El Misti volcano and peppered with colonnaded streets, grand townhouses and church buildings, above all of the chic Cathedral that rises up into the skyline with regal splendor. However that’s not all – Arequipa can also be residence to the Santa Catalina Convent, relationship again to the 16th century and a working nunnery to this present day. Meander alongside the convent’s cloisters, via atmospheric courtyards and previous partitions of terracotta crimson and cornflower blue, absorbing the sacrosanct spirit of this particular place.

Ouro Preto, Brazil

Brazil flaunts its justifiable share of fairly colonial cities in South America, however Ouro Preto stands out as being very particular certainly. That means “Black Gold” in Portuguese, Ouro Preto was a significant middle for gold mining within the 18th century, and with this got here lashings of wealth. Whereas a number of this gold was despatched throughout the Atlantic Ocean to Portugal, a lot was poured into the development of Ouro Preto’s Baroque structure, together with the awe-inspiring Matriz Nossa Senhora do Pilar which is inlaid with a mind-boggling 400kg of gold. This Cathedral Basilica is one in all many spectacular Baroque gems within the metropolis, alongside cobbled lanes, plazas, fountains and bridges, all tucked into the rolling hills of Minas Gerais – a captivating sight certainly. It’s no marvel why then, in 1980, Ouro Preto grew to become the primary website of UNESCO World Heritage standing in Brazil. Throughout a go to to Ouro Preto, except for merely strolling alongside its atmospheric streets, you’ll be able to be taught extra concerning the nice artist Aleijadinho at his namesake museum, who was accountable for a lot of the city’s astonishing non secular artwork, together with that of the São Francisco de Assis Church.

Villa de Leyva, Colombia

It’s as if time has stood nonetheless within the Colombian city of Villa de Leyva, a pleasant ensemble of terracotta roofs, whitewashed partitions and cobbled lanes that stay just about unchanged for the reason that 16th century. The city was named after Andrés Díaz Venero de Leyva, the primary president of the New Kingdom of Granada, upon its founding in 1572, though it had been inhabited by the Muisca civilization lengthy earlier than the arrival of the Spanish. Throughout colonial rule, leaders favored to flee the bustle of the capital, Bogota, for the peace and quiet of Villa de Leyva, with its gentle local weather and exquisite mountain surroundings. Guests as we speak are simply as prone to be enraptured by Villa de Leyva, with its unmistakable Plaza Mayor, one in all Colombia’s largest at 14,000sq m; church buildings, such because the Iglesia Parroquial and Convento del Santo Ecce Homo; and artisan cafes and boutiques – a contemporary addition to this chocolate field colonial city.

Salta, Argentina

Northwest Argentina is a area brimming with dramatic mountain ranges striped in a rainbow of colours, huge deserts and even salt flats. However the metropolis on the middle of all of it, Salta, is to not be missed on a journey to Northwest Argentina. Salta was based in 1582 and subsequently, the squares, church buildings and colourful facades adopted, with the 9 de Julio Plaza being the middle of all of it. That is the place you could find a few of the greatest examples of Salta’s colonial structure, together with the unmistakable Cathedral Basilica with its pastel pink façade, relationship to the mid-19th century after the primary Cathedral was destroyed in an earthquake. You can too discover the Cabildo, a authorities building-cum-museum with a tranquil inside courtyard, and the San Francisco Church and Palace, all fascinating glimpses into Salta’s heritage.

Cuenca, Ecuador

Cuenca is Ecuador’s third largest metropolis (after Guayaquil and Quito), with a UNESCO-preserved historic middle and enchanting ambiance to match. There’s a bunch of historic buildings to discover in Cuenca, however maybe essentially the most hanging of all are the city’s church buildings. As outdated as the town itself, the Iglesia del Sagrario (or ‘Outdated Cathedral’ as it’s dubbed) is an excellent white Baroque gem from 1557 with ornate chapels, non secular artwork and a resplendent organ. In the meantime, the ‘New Cathedral’ (Catedral de la Inmaculada Concepcion) is a standout architectural marvel with its giant blue domes comprised of Czech tiles, seen from miles away. Other than its non secular monuments, Cuenca is a delight to find by dipping into cafes and museums, lots of that are encased in stunning colonial buildings, and easily watching the world go by.

Alfonso Tandazo is President and CEO at Surtrek Tour Operator. Surtrek Tour Operator is a well-established agency, specializing in custom-designed luxurious excursions in Ecuador, the Galapagos and all through the remainder of South America.

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