Centro, Montevideo

The Edificio Rex and the El Entrevero fountain in Plaza Fabini
The Edificio Rex and the El Entrevero fountain in Plaza Fabini
Location of Centro in Montevideo
Location of Centro in Montevideo
Coordinates: 34°54′13″S 56°11′18″W / 34°54′13″S 56°11′18″W / -34.90361; -56.18833Uruguay
DepartmentMontevideo Department

Centro is the inner city barrio (neighbourhood or district) of Montevideo, Uruguay. Its main avenue is 18 de Julio Avenue. It is delimited by La Paz Str. to the North, Florida Str. (North of 18 de julio Av.) and Andes Str. (South of 18 de Julio Av.) to the West, Canelones Str. to the South and Barrios Amorin Str. to the East. It used to be the main commercial venue of the city, but after the opening of the first malls, many small stores started closing down. Now,[when?] that process is being reverted and the area is coming back to life.[vague]


1829 map of the proposed extension of the Ciudad Vieja

Because of the military origins of Montevideo, it had been forbidden to build anything permanent in the area outside the walls of the city up to the time that Uruguay gained Independence. That area was called Campo de Marte or ejido (common). Around 1750, the colonial Gobernación Política y Militar de Montevideo traced the limits of the forbidden area at "a canonball's reach" from the city's fortifications by a line or "cordón". Eventually, Cordón became the name of the area outside the Campo de Marte.[1]

In 1829, four years after the declaration of Independence, the National Assembly decided to pull down the fortifications of the Ciudad Vieja and extend the city to form the "Ciudad Nueva". At the time, the population of Montevideo was around 14,000. The plans for some additional 160 city blocks were drawn by military engineer Don José María Reyes. That extension is the actual barrio of Centro. The plans included a new square, which in 1840 took on the name Plaza Cagancha, while the names of the streets were given by Andrés Lamas from 1843 on. The development of this area was very slow due to the "Guerra Grande" of 1839-1852. In 1867 a pillar with the statue of Peace (La Paz) was erected in the centre of Plaza Cagancha.