Living history of Montevideo
The old part of the town held the military Spanish fortifications, whose stone walls set the boundaries of the fortified San Felipe y Santiago city, by then guarded by a fortress called Ciudadela. The original structure which was the entry to the fortress is still there, and can be found between the Plaza Independencia and Peatonal Sarandí. It is the point of departure for those who want to take a historical tour of the city. Walking around the Ciudad Vieja – the old part of the city- tourists encounter historical buildings, museums, galleries, cafes, restaurants, design shops, bookstores, antique shops, and a long string of fashion shops.
Montevideo was born under Spanish rule as a strategic military fort. Its stone walls, built around 1741, were pulled down in 1829. Some pieces of them still lie along Bartolomé Mitre Street and the seafront. Its walls ended at the Northern and Southern bastions. The Southern bastion (Cubo del Sur) still exists. But probably the most notable historical remains is the Puerta de la Ciudadela, which was used to connect a little fort with the colonial city through a drawbridge. Looking carefully at the door, visitors may notice the mark produced on it by the chain which held the drawbridge. The door currently separates the old part of the city from downtown.