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A Day in Caracas

By: Cityseeker
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El Capitolio Nacional

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.

Caracas, Venezuela
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Birthplace of the Liberator Simón Bolívar

Tucked away off one of the streets near Plaza Bolivar, the birthplace of El Libertador Simon Bolivar is no longer the tranquil house it once was due to its current popularity. Known as Casa Natal del Libertador, a visit to this quaint 17th Century house is like travelling back int time to the colonial era. A single story house, the Casa opens up to beautiful courtyards and patios. While its architecture is largely Spanish Colonial, the front facade is built in stone which differs from more characteristic colonial houses. The corridors, antique furniture and chambers depict Bolivar's journey from being a child to becoming Venezuela's most prominent national leader. Artwork by Tito Salas depicting Bolivar's significant life events are displayed inside the house. This house is a labyrinth of memories and a peek into the life of one of the most celebrated heroes of Venezuela.

Caracas, Venezuela
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La Plaza Bolívar

In every Venezuelan city and town, the main square is named after Simon Bolivar. Caracas' Plaza Bolivar is not only the center of civic, political, commercial, social and tourist activity, but it stands on the grounds where conqueror Diego de Losada founded the city in 1567; the capital of Venezuela grew out from four corners. Public buildings like the Capitolio Nacional, the Catedral Metropolitana, the Foreign Office and the Palacio Municipal surround the square. But, the real meaning of Plaza Bolivar is found in its energy, which keeps Caracas alive.

Caracas, Venezuela
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El Palacio de Miraflores

In this case, "palace" is quite appropriate because it refers to a mansion that, in its time, was considered the largest and most luxurious one in the country. In it, the Presidents of Venezuela have performed their duties since 1911. However, its original builder, President Joaquin Crespo, never occupied or made use of it. The amassing of priceless works of art as time passed has made Miraflores the showcase of national treasures including: furniture, murals, and the works of classic Venezuelan painters such as Arturo Michelena, Cristobal Mendoza, Martín Tovar y Tovar and Tito Salas.

Caracas, Venezuela
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National Pantheon of Venezuela

An illustrious monument to the national heroes of Venezuela, the National Pantheon is also an exquisite architectural and historical landmark. Built originally in the colonial style in the 1870s, the pantheon was revamped to become one of the first Neo-Gothic buildings in Venezuela. Awash in light pink, the aisles showcase some of the bravest national heroes and significant luminaries in Venezuelan history. The central nave of the interior is dominated by El Libertador Simon Bolivar, the most eminent of Venezuela's national leaders, with his sarcophagus placed at the earlier site of the altar. A magnificent Baccarat chandelier with 4,000 shards and over 200 lights festoons the ceiling. Excellent works of art by Tito Salas hang on the ceilings and are a great draw for art connoisseurs. A symbol of national pride and art, the National Pantheon is a glorious tribute to the greatest personalities of Venezuela.

Caracas, Venezuela
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Galería de Arte Nacional (GAN)

This museum was opened in 1976, and is devoted to the preservation and exhibition of works by Venezuelan artists from Colonial times to present day. The Permanent Collection includes relevant names from the 19th Century like Arturo Michelena, Cristobal Rojas, Martin Tovar y Tovar and Tito Salas; among later artists are Francisco Narvaez and Hector Poleo, plus a vast selection of works by Armando Reveron. Present Venezuelan art is represented by Alejandro Otero, Francisco Hung, Carlos Cruz-Diez, Jacobo Borges, Regulo Perez, Meyer Vaisman and other great creators. The museum also presents temporary exhibitions coming from public or private collections.

Caracas, Venezuela
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Museo de Ciencias Naturales

This museum is more oriented towards the spread of knowledge than to mere exhibition. The interested public visits it regularly, since it organizes exhibitions on specific topics, such as biodiversity, petroleum, communications and nutrition. An area that captivates both young and not so young is one that presents a sizeable collection of stuffed mammals of all sizes, including a giraffe, placed in a painstaking recreation of their natural environment.

Caracas, Venezuela
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Galería Acquavella

In Venezuela, Acquavella is synonymous with the concept of art gallery, since it is one of the oldest institutions of this type in the country. Founded in 1954, it makes use of all the technological resources available to project its work worldwide. At its website, you can access the latest exhibition in case you have not been able to see it at the gallery. Acquavella has been the home to and promoter of works by important Venezuelan painters, such as Cabré, Castillo, Golding and Monasterios. It continually presents collective and individual exhibitions. At the web site, information about 14 permanent collections may also be found. Admission is free.

Caracas, Venezuela
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Galería Dimaca

This gallery was a natural development from the well-known picture framing shop of the same name. It covers an ample spectrum of contemporary artists and types of materials used in artistic expression. Renowned names like Mateo Manaure, Oswaldo Vigas, Manuel Cabré, Jesus Soto and Carlos Cruz Díez are present. The works exhibited include such varied formats as drawings, collages, sculptures, engravings, lithographs, mixographs and serigraphs, as well as materials like iron, marble, bronze, acrylic, paper or wood normally form part of the exhibitions. Admission is free.

Caracas, Venezuela
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