Maracay Landmarks and Monuments

(Maracay, Aragua, Venezuela)

The monuments of Maracay either relate to the gritty years of the country's struggle for independence from Spain, or have cultural or natural connotations.

Culturally, the magnificent bullring (Plaza de Toros Maestranza) is a focus for the city's inhabitants and this famous landmark holds a statue of Venezuela's late, great star of the sport, Cesar Giron. General Gomez ordered the construction of many notable buildings and landmarks in the city of Maracay, including the bullfighting arena, along with the Palacio de Gobierno, the Teatro de la Opera and the Casa de Dolores Amelia, amongst others.

El Libertador

Address: Plaza Bolivar, Maracay, Venezuela, VE
The magnificent equestrian bronze of El Libertador, the Venezuelan hero Simon Bolivar, stands on a white marble plinth in the Plaza Bolivar and is a much-photographed sight in the city. This 'Liberator' is a monument to Bolivar's victory over the Spanish, which resulted in Venezuela gaining its independence in 1813. The great general is affectionately known by many as the George Washington of South America.
Open hours: daily
Admission: free

Bullring (Plaza de Toros Maestranza)

Address: Avenida 19 de Abril / Calle Coromoto, Maracay, Venezuela, VE
This massive stadium, commissioned by General Gomez in the early 1930s and originally named the 'Calicanto', is the venue for Maracay's regular bullfights. Modelled exactly on the bullring in Seville, the Plaza de Toros Maestranza is one of the most stylish in Venezuela. The country's leading matador, Cesar Giron Antonio Diaz, is fondly remembered here, with a bronze showing him fighting a bull situated just across from the ring.
Open hours: hours vary according to schedules
Admission: charge

Government Palace of the State of Aragua (Palacio de Gobierno del Estado Aragua)

Address: Avenida Paez Miranda / Plaza Bolivar, Maracay, Venezuela, VE
Originally the Garden Hotel built by order of General Gomez, this sparkling white neo-classical and Renaissance-influenced gem is now the state government's headquarters. Important visitors to the city are invited to stay in its spacious rooms, and in the past, esteemed guests have included US President John F Kennedy and renowned Latin American singer Carlos Gardel. The building was declared a national historic monument in 1994 and contains the Aragua State Legislature (Legislativa del estado Aragua).
Open hours: daily
Admission: free

Opera Theatre (Teatro de la Opera)

Address: Avenida Paez Miranda / Calle Brion, Maracay, Venezuela, VE
Tel: +58 274 233 6043
Constructed with a huge budget in the 1930s, the opera house has led a fascinating history and was almost complete when its sponsor, General Gomez, died in 1935. Work immediately stopped and the interior decorations were moved to Caracas. The Teatro de la Opera was finally completed and opened almost 40 years later, in 1973, and has regularly held productions of all kinds ever since. With a seating capacity of over 800 people and many ornate features, the theatre stands as yet another monument to Gomez's grandiose plans for his city.
Open hours: Monday to Friday - 08:30 to 12:00, 14:30 to 18:00 (box office)
Admission: charge, discounts available for some performances

Cathedral (Catedral)

Address: Plaza Girardot, Maracay, Venezuela, VE
The city's breathtaking white colonial-style cathedral is set on the eastern borders of the Plaza Girardot square. Dedicated in 1743, this lovely edifice hasn't changed much since then. Any renovation and restoration work carried out has always ensured that the integrity and character of the building remained. The bell tower is a particularly obvious feature, as are the three naves and five lateral chapels. The cathedral's shaded and quiet interior is perfect for a break from the rigours of exploring the city.
Open hours: Tuesday to Friday - 08:30 to 15:30, Saturday and Sunday - 09:00 to 12:30
Admission: free

Shrine of Mother Maria de San Jose (Santuario de Madre Maria de San Jose)

Address: Plaza Girardot, Maracay, Venezuela, VE
This sacred religious landmark contains the tiny body of a Maracay saint, Madre Maria. She was beatified by papal decree in the mid-1990s, and when her remains were exhumed for removal to the sanctuary, her body had not decayed, allegedly. It now lies in a crystal sarcophagus and has become a popular pilgrimage site. The Santuario de Madre Maria de San Jose lies just a short stroll to the east of the Plaza Girardot.
Open hours: Tuesday to Sunday - 08:30 to 12:00, 14:30 to 17:00
Admission: free

Lake Valencia (Lago de Valencia)

Address: Maracay, Venezuela, VE
Lake Valencia is the third-largest natural freshwater lake in Venezuela, set in the Aragua Valley, with Maracay lining its northern shore. It is home to several small islands, some occupied, some not. Unfortunately, it suffers from regular algae blooms caused by pollution from untreated waste water from the city. As a result, recreational activities and tourism opportunities have been badly hit and the local fishing industry is currently declining.
Open hours: daily
Admission: free

Casa de Dolores Amelia

Address: Parque Bicentenario, Maracay, Venezuela, VE
Tel: +58 0243 245 1618
This fine neo-Sevillian style mansion resides on the northerly side of the Parque Bicentenario and was built in 1927 for the favourite mistress of General Gomez, Dolores Amelia Nunez de Caceres. The prettiest part is the inner patio with its stunning ornamental tiles redolent of the Alhambra Palace. Although the interior is now used as a medical facility, the patio is open to the public and well worth a look.
Open hours: Monday to Friday - 07:00 to 19:00
Admission: free