With its population of 1,362,000, Montevideo is home to nearly half of Uruguay's population. The relatively small capital is the nation's only major city, yet visitors do not come here in search of the hustle and bustle of a large metropolis. Montevideanos themselves travel to Buenos Aires and SÐ ³o Paulo when they crave big-city excitement.As Uruguay's cultural, political and economic center, the city boasts a good number of monuments, museums and impressive architecture. There are sidewalk cafes, fine restaurants, chic shops, casinos and
miles of clean beaches.
For such a small country, Uruguay boasts an astonishing literary and artistic tradition. Theater is a popular medium and playwrights are very prominent. Uruguayan artists such as Pedro Figari have earned recognition well beyond the country's border. The tango is nearly as popular here as in Argentina. Afro-Uruguayan Candomble music and dance add a unique dimension.
Historically, the major and most productive part of the Uruguayan economy has been the pastoral sector. Cattle and sheep estancias occupy more than three-quarters of the land, providing grazing ground for over nine million cattle and twenty-three million sheep. Once the gauchos subsisted on wild cattle, but with time the establishment of estancias pushed the cattle back into the interior.
Caution: Do not wear expensive jewelry or carry large amounts of cash ashore with you. Be aware of purse-snatchers in the downtown area.