Historic tourism gains ground in Latin America
Latin America has a large number of destinations where Spanish or Portuguese influence converge with the legacy of the original cultures
A section of the history of the peoples of Latin America, from the time of the Spanish conquest to the present, revives in some cities through indelible marks that remain almost unchanged despite the passage of time. This heritage -an essential part of local identity-, in which the Spanish or Portuguese influence converge with the legacy of the original cultures, attracts more and more tourists from all over the world. Here are ten examples of colonial neighborhoods that surprise visitors in the region.
Guarani Jesuit Missions (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Bolivia, Chile)
They were a group of thirty missionary towns founded from the seventeenth century by the Catholic religious order of the Society of Jesus among the Guarani aborigines and related peoples, whose goal was their evangelization and which were located geographically -quince- in the current provinces of Misiones and Corrientes, in Argentina, -ocho- in Paraguay and -the remaining seven- in the so-called Eastern Missions, located southwest of Brazil; all in the jurisdiction called Provincia Paraguaria located in the Viceroyalty of Peru and which encompassed regions of present-day Paraguay, Argentina, Uruguay and parts of Bolivia, Brazil and Chile.
Colonia del Sacramento (Uruguay)
Restored in 1972, the historic neighborhood of Colonia reflects both the times when the Banda Oriental depended on the Portuguese Crown and the time of Spanish rule. From the top of the wall that surrounded the old fort you can appreciate the sandy beaches of Colonia, the Río de la Plata and the magnificent architectural ensemble, in which the lighthouse stands out -constructed in 1855 on the foundations of the San Francisco Xavier convent -, the Basilica of the Blessed Sacrament, the Portón de Campo and the wooden bridge that crosses the moat and the Plaza Mayor, from where the romantic Calle de los Suspiros takes off, between houses with adobe walls.
Easter Island (Chile
It is located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, more precisely in Polynesia, 3,526 kilometers from the nearest point on the continent, Punta Lavapié in the Biobio region. It is of volcanic origin and has an area of 163.6 km². In its interior live 3,791 inhabitants, mostly in the capital Hanga Roa, although this may vary because there are many tourists and floating population that increases the figure.
Currently the island is one of the main tourist attractions of Chile, because in addition to its unforgettable landscapes, there is a special mysticism closely linked to its ancestral culture. Among the mysteries for example is the presence of Moais, how they were built and how they were moved.
To protect natural beauties and culture, the Chilean government granted the title of National Park to the island, while in 1995 Unesco declared that the area should be constituted as a World Heritage Site.
Pelourinho (Salvador de Bahia, Brazil)
One of the greatest expressions of Afro-Brazilian culture can be seen in this neighborhood of stone streets and colorful houses, where rituals with candles, incense and images of orixás (gods of the African Candomblé ritual) are common. The four elevators overlooking the sea of the Lacerda Elevator connect the Upper City with the Lower part and allow access to the Mercado Modelo, the most suitable place to choose souvenirs and pieces of Bahia handicrafts. The best feijoadas (traditional dish based on beans and pork) are served in the restaurant Alaíde do Feijao.
Machu Pichu (Peru)
It is a tangible proof of the maximum splendor of the Inca Empire and an achievement of technology, because the stone citadel is built without mortar, so that today, the cracks in the joints can not be penetrated by a knife.
The complex of palaces, plazas, temples, and homes may have had a ceremonial, military, or retirement function for the ruling elites, but their location is undoubtedly what makes this place magical. The ruins are on a high ridge, flanked on three sides by the turbulent Urubamba River.
Scholars are still struggling to discover clues about the hidden mysteries of this Andean zone, covered by the tropical forests of the upper Amazon basin. Machu Picchu seems to be at the center of a network of interrelated places, with great importance for its astronomical and strategic orientation. The Incas had no written language, so there is no record of why it was built on this site or what was its use before its abandonment in the sixteenth century.
The engineering skills for land modification are evident in Machu Picchu. The buildings, the walls, the terraces and the ramps adapt a steep mountainous terrain and make the city a habitable place perfectly integrated into the landscape. The terraces, in addition, fulfilled a work of zones of culture, distribution of water and a constructive area that shows the advanced thing of the Inca town.
The merit of the construction of the city, also resides in that during the process the Incas did not know the steel, the iron or the wheel. The city, despite being a pleasant place to live, did not accommodate more than 1,000 people at the time.
In 1911 a Peruvian guide took the Yale professor, Hiram Bingham, to a steep slope, and thus he would appear in the history books as the first Westerner to arrive at the "lost city" of Machu Picchu. Although the indigenous peoples knew about the place, the conquerors of Peru never did it, a fact that helped the isolation of Machu Picchu and its subsequent conservation over the centuries.
In the old town of the capital of Ecuador you can not miss the church of the Company of Jesus, the Arco de la Reina, the Atahualpa theater, the street with Galapagos stairs, the Vargas passage (source of inspiration for artists, bohemians and lovers, popularly known as La Guaragua), the temples of the Calle de las Siete Cruces, the Carondelet Palace (seat of the national government) and the convent and church of San Francisco, built on remains of Inca walls since 1533. From 8 to 12 of August will be more: the Festival of Light 2018 will celebrate 40 years since the decision of UNESCO to recognize the historic center of the city as "Cultural Heritage of Humanity" and 18 spaces were artistically intervened for that event.
The glances are lost in the endless sequence of centuries-old residences of one and two floors, with wooden doors, windows decorated with bars and wooden balconies overflowing with flowers. In the interior, the patios with gardens to the Arab, Roman and Greek designs inherited in Spain by the towns of Andalusia and Extremadura. The walled city also contains the Plaza de los Coches, the Bodegón de la Candelaria, the church and convent of the San Pedro Claver Jesuit Order, the Plaza de la Aduana and the houses of the Marquises Domingo de Miranda and Valdehoyos).
Santo Domingo Dominican Republic)
The Colonial Zone of the Dominican capital -considered the first city of the "New World" by its founder in 1496, Bartolomé Colón- encompasses a grid of 16 cobbled streets. There, the first Cathedral of America (built in 1546), the Fortress, the House of Bastides, the Palace of the Captains, the Church of the Dominicans -structure of the continent's first university-, the Casa de las Monedas el Palacio of Borgella and the House of Tostado. A few steps from here you can visit the Botanical Garden and the Malecón, which offers a magnificent open view of the Caribbean Sea.
At 45 kilometers from the city of Guatemala, Antigua preserves part of the first foundation of the capital of the Central American country. It arose in 1543 and in 1773 it was destroyed by an earthquake. One of the most moving ways to get to know the must-see sites of Antigua (such as the Palace of the General Captains, the Sirens' Fountain of the Plaza Mayor and the Town Hall) and its people is through the popular procession that every 25 July follows the Mass in the Cathedral and Parish of San José.
Old Havana (Cuba)
The oldest sector of the capital of Cuba congregates tourists from the five continents, eager to discover a striking mixture of vintage cars, salsa and rumba melodies that descend from the neighborhood's balconies, colonial architecture, cultural centers and typical flavors offered in palates (dining rooms for tourists in private homes). Other points of interest are the world-famous restaurants Bodeguita del Medio and Floridita, the "cradle of the daiquiri", frequented by the American writer Ernest Hemingway.
Echoes of the great history and the independence struggle of the Mexican people are safeguarded in this city of alleys, tunnels and a strong tradition of Cervantes: the Cervantino International Festival is celebrated every year. The night walk can be an unforgettable experience if one chooses to join the "callejoneadas", guided by students who dedicate themselves to lead the walk to the Callejón del Beso by singing and narrating legends and stories. But there is also much to see and admire during the day. For example, the Union Garden - a stage for artists and street performers, surrounded by restaurants, bars, hotels and the Juarez theater -, the Casa Diego Rivera, the Don Quijote, Regional and Mummies, the Funicular and Mirador del Pípila museums, the Temple of San Cayetano and the remains of the Mina de la Valenciana, from the 16th century.