The Legislative Palace (Palacio Legislativo) of the Oriental Republic of Uruguay is not only the largest architectonic construction of Uruguay, but also constitutes the greatest collection of statutory works in the country. Constructed in the early 1900s and sponsored by President José Batlle y Ordoñez, the palace was then declared as a National Historic Monument in 1975 by President Juan María Bordaberry, which now becomes, not only as the symbol of political life of the country where Uruguayan parliament meet, but also as a must-do-visit tourism spot for any foreigners in Montevideo.
The palace was designed by Italian architects Vittorio Meano and Gaetano Moretti who planned the building’s interior, along with other notable contributors to the project including the sculptor José Belloni who created numerous reliefs and allegorical sculptures for the building. And the result turned to be incredibly magnificent featuring a combination between colorful Carrara marble walls, ceiling murals and reliefs in gold, as well as a neo-classical, three-story Greco-roman style building in a huge, impressive landmark that houses significant works of art inside.
Exclusively for the Carrara marbles surrounding its walls, the stones came locally from Uruguay, and have been used to convey great splendor and style with the influence of the Italian architect proving that this building has a truly memorable architecture, décor and art.
Everything inside the building is taken care to detail and very well preserved. Among the marvels, there are a spectacular library with volumes of ancient and priceless works, a grand central hall with resplendent in colored granite, ornate columns and arches, mosaics and statues, and misty stain glass and skylights, as well as meeting and congressional halls along with its upper and lower chambers made of woodwork, brass and stained glass, which dedicated to the 30 senators and 99 deputies respectively.
Not to mention, this palace also has a tunnel that leads under the streets outside to the Annex, where deputies and senators have their offices, generating many complaints from the citizens about various issues such as for spending too much money on something they considered unnecessary. As for the long subterranean tunnel itself, it is lined with historical photos on the right which give a walking slide show of the building construction.
You can visit the palace for free every day at certain times. The tour guides in English have an absolute passion for everything they say, and they are extremely informative explaining the history of this palace, its functions, its legends, and many other subjects related to the building.
All in all, Legislative Palace of Montevideo is definitely a place people have to see when visiting the capital city of Uruguay, Montevideo. It’s free, while you can learn a little more about the history, gain an understanding of the government of Uruguay, and most importantly experience a great beauty inside the unique building. Lastly, don’t forget to catch a cute moment of flag ceremony at dusk, when soldiers in the uniforms of the 1820s bring the flag down, fold it and march ceremonially back to the legislative office building nearby. Watch the automatic doors close in-ceremonially after the last troop passes.