Fodor's Expert Review Plaza Bolívar

Casco Viejo Plaza/Square Fodor's Choice

A small plaza surrounded by 19th-century architecture, this is one of Casco Viejo's most pleasant spots, especially at night, when people gather at its various cafés for drinks and dinner, and street musicians perform for tips. It's centered around a monument to the Venezuelan general Simón Bolívar, the "Liberator of Latin America," with decorative friezes marking events of his life and an Andean condor perched above him. In 1926 Bolívar organized a meeting of independence with leaders from all over Latin America in the Franciscan monastery in front of the plaza, which, in the end, he was unable to attend. The original San Francisco Church was destroyed by fire in the 18th century and restored twice in the 20th century. At this writing, the church was closed for yet another round of renovations, and was to reopen to the public in 2016 (open hours had not yet been announced). The former monastery is now occupied by a Catholic school. Across the plaza from it, on the corner of Avenida... READ MORE

A small plaza surrounded by 19th-century architecture, this is one of Casco Viejo's most pleasant spots, especially at night, when people gather at its various cafés for drinks and dinner, and street musicians perform for tips. It's centered around a monument to the Venezuelan general Simón Bolívar, the "Liberator of Latin America," with decorative friezes marking events of his life and an Andean condor perched above him. In 1926 Bolívar organized a meeting of independence with leaders from all over Latin America in the Franciscan monastery in front of the plaza, which, in the end, he was unable to attend. The original San Francisco Church was destroyed by fire in the 18th century and restored twice in the 20th century. At this writing, the church was closed for yet another round of renovations, and was to reopen to the public in 2016 (open hours had not yet been announced). The former monastery is now occupied by a Catholic school. Across the plaza from it, on the corner of Avenida B and Calle 4, is the smaller church, Iglesia de San Felipe de Neri, which was recently restored and is open daily. The Hotel Colombia, across the street from it, was one of the country's best when it opened its doors in 1937, but it fell into neglect during the late 20th century until it was renovated in the 1990s and converted to luxury apartments.

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