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To enrich your visit to the historical center of Caracas, you may include the Casa Amarilla, a building that stands on the same grounds where the Caracas Royal Prison was located during colonial times, at the beginning of the 17th century. You will enjoy the traditional style in the construction and furniture, plus you will also have a first-hand encounter with the tireless activity of the Venezuelan Foreign Office. Guided tours are provided by the Protocol Department.
Starting from the northeast point, you can journey clockwise round the Plaza. There is the cathedral and the Museo Sacro on the east side. Then on the right side, there is the Palacio Arzobispal and the Concejo Municipal. To the west is the La Francia building of jewels and la Casa Amarilla. Finally, on the north side, the Capital District Government headquarters can be seen, which is located on the Esquina de Principal. This building, which features designs by Carlos Guinand and Gustavo Wallis, was officially opened by president Juan Vicente at the beginning of the 1930s, and is a typical example of Venezuelan art deco. Apart from the architectural interest generated by the building, another attractive feature is the exhibition hall on the ground floor, displaying young Venzuelan artists' work.
The Catedral Metropolitana de Caracas is more modest than others on the continent but its well-preserved ornate detailing has great artistic value. The site was the location of an earlier church, built in 1567, when the city was founded. The construction of the present building was begun in 1665 after the previous church was destroyed by an earthquake in 1661. Simón Bolívar was baptized here in 1873, and the remains of his parents and wife lay here as well. This magnificent temple houses a great collection of valuable religious works of art.
Built under president Antonio Guzman Blanco, the Capitol consists of a building finished in 1873 (the Legislative Palace) and in 1877 (the Federal Palace). The whole building complex is now the home of the Legislative Power. According to the Constitution that was approved in December 1999, the Legislative Power is now called National Assembly, and not National Congress as it was before. Important paintings by Caracas native Martin Tovar y Tovar, the great fountain on the beautiful grounds and a stop at the Elliptic Hall are some of the enduring memories that the visitor takes with him after visiting the Capitolio.
A memorial to Simón Bolívar, it's no surprise that great care is taken over the maintenance of his birthplace, the Casa Natal del Libertador. The visitor can feel the past in the walls, rooms, interior yards, plants and decor. Bolivar's great-grandfather built the house and it still holds family portraits and antique furniture. As an additional attraction, there are several magnificent epic paintings by Venezuelan artist Tito Salas.
This building dates to the end of the 16th century and has served, successively, as a Franciscan convent, seat of the Central University of Venezuela and, currently, as the headquarters of the Academies Palace. Academies, plural, since it houses the National Academy of History, the Venezuelan Academy of Language, the National Academy of Medicine, the Academy of Political and Social Sciences, plus the Academy of Physical and Natural Sciences and Mathematics. It is wholly dedicated to study, research and the broadcasting of data, in spite of the fact that a vital institution that had shared the same building, the headquarters of the National Library, recently moved to a larger and much more modern building.
Diagonally opposite Correo Central (main post office) de Carmelitas, you'll see the elegant architecture ensemble of Banco Central de Venezuela, which consists of a five floor horizontal construction, housing the head quarters (finished in 1965) and the twenty floor financial tower (finished in 1973). You will be able to vist the mezzanine and see the exhibition of national treasures. These treasures consist of the Espada del Perú (the Peruvian Sword), jewelry and decorations belonging to Simón Bolívar, the first coin ever made in Venezuela dating from 1802, paper money issued during the War of Independence and other historical pieces.
There is no better form of transport, or tourist guide for that matter, in the city of Caracas than the Metro system. Opened in 1983, each of the Metro's 39 stations has a map of its respective zone. You can immediately identify where you want to go, but not without first admiring one or more of the great works of art that you will probably find outside the stations. More than 400 air-conditioned trains run along the four current lines. Commence your journey in whatever direction you please, without forgetting the trusty MetroBuses, and you will soon discover why the people of the city feel so content with and proud of their Metro system.