Caracas Landmarks and Monuments

(Caracas, Miranda, Venezuela)

There are lots of decent sights to check out in the capital, but the main landmark in Caracas is the venerable Catedral standing astride the Plaza Bolivar, in the city centre. Venezuela's national cathedral is an impressive structure built between the years of 1665 to 1713, although it was actually constructed on the site of a much older church, destroyed following severe earthquake damage in 1641.

Caracas has some lovely colonial architecture, including several smaller churches and plenty of old buildings in the downtown area. Sadly many of the city's landmarks were destroyed during the 1812 earthquake, although glimpses of its colonial days do remain amongst the modern edifices, particularly around the Plaza Bolivar.

Cathedral (Catedral)

Address: Plaza Bolivar, Caracas, Venezuela, VE
Tel: +58 0212 862 4963
The Catedral flanks the lively Plaza Bolivar, making it an easy stopover while exploring the old colonial district. With a vast interior boasting five naves, visitors will also find gilded altars, side chapels and more than 30 giant stone columns, added a very grandiose appearance. Much remodelling of the cathedral took place in the latter part of the 19th century, which saw various changes, both structural and aesthetic. A particular highlight is a Rubens painting hanging inside the personal chapel of the Bolivar family. Right next to the church is the Museo Sacro, a repository of beautiful religious sculptures and art works. Many of the exhibits are in English, and there's even a restored church prison down below.
Open hours: daily - 07:00 to 13:00, 15:00 to 18:00
Admission: free

Church of St. Francis (Iglesia de San Francisco)

Address: Avenida Universidad, Caracas, Venezuela, VE
Tel: +58 0212 484 2442
It may not be as large or as embellished as the more famous Catedral, but this church is loaded with vital Venezuelan history. Simon Bolivar declared El Libertador in 1813 here, and the iconic leader then had his massive funeral in this church in 1842, when his body was transported here from Colombia, some 12 years after his death. The building was constructed in 1575 and has a lovely mix of different architectural styles from the colonial era onwards. Even if you are not a church buff, the Iglesia de San Francisco remains one of the city's finest structures.
Open hours: Monday to Friday - 07:00 to 12:00, 14:00 to 17:00, Saturday and Sunday - 10:00 to 17:00
Admission: free

Church of the Holy Chapel (Iglesia Santa Capilla)

Address: Avenida Urdaneta, Corner of Santa Capilla, Caracas, Venezuela, VE
Tel: +58 0212 860 8894
Featuring neo-Gothic architecture and located just to the north of the Plaza Bolivar, the Iglesia Santa Capilla was built in the 1880s. The setting for this church is of great local significance, since it was on this very spot where the city's first mass was held soon after it was founded in 1567. With colourful stained-glass windows, much ornate marblework and a grand altarpiece, the church also has some noteworthy art works and religious artefacts.
Open hours: Monday to Friday - 07:00 to 18:00, Saturday - 14:00 to 18:00, Sunday - 09:00 to 18:00
Admission: free

Central University of Venezuela (Universidad Central de Venezuela)

Address: Avenida Las Acacias, Caracas, Venezuela, VE
Tel: +58 0212 605 4050
A leading educational institute, the Central University of Venezuela is of epic proportions and has its origins in the early 1720s, although this particular campus dates from the 1950s. Now used by more than 80,000 students, the university has grown to become the largest in the whole of Venezuela and is widely regarded as an architectural masterpiece, being unusually planned and structured by just one single architect, Carlos Raul Villanueva. The Universidad Central now ranks as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and contains many imposing buildings, as well as some eye-catching sculptures, large murals and landscaped gardens. Of note, the University City of Caracas (Ciudad Universitaria) forms the main campus here.
Open hours: daily
Admission: free

University Stadium (Estadio Universitario)

Address: Ciudad Universitaria, Caracas, Venezuela, VE
Tel: +58 0212 762 1211 (ticket line)
You'll quickly realise that baseball is Venezuela's number-one sport, and Caracas has one of the nation's best teams. Los Leones is the premier club in the capital and they play their home games at the University Stadium from late October until the end of January. The stadium itself was opened in 1952 and is able to comfortably accommodate more than 25,000 spectators. If you enjoy the sport, you will appreciate the fervour with which the locals cheer their home team, especially if they are playing their rivals Los Magallanes. Other events do take place at the Estadio Universitario over the course of the year, although it is the baseball games that usually draw the biggest crowds.
Open hours: daily - varies according to event / baseball game
Admission: charge

UCV Olympic Stadium (Estadio Olimpico de la Universidad Central de Venezuela - UCV)

Address: Ciudad Universitaria, Caracas, Venezuela, VE
The Estadio Olimpico de la UCV is another sizeable university stadium and boasts a capacity of just under 25,000 people. This is a multi-purpose stadium used for a mixture of football matches, athletics training and sports events, and rugby games, as well as the occasional open-air concert. In 2007, some matches for the Copa America soccer tournament were staged here, with much renovation work and a general upgrade of facilities being carried out beforehand, in anticipation of the crowds and publicity.
Open hours: daily - varies according to event
Admission: charge

City Hall (Concejo Municipal)

Address: Plaza Bolivar, Caracas, Venezuela, VE
Tel: +58 0212 409 8236
The Caracas City Hall is perhaps best known as the Concejo Municipal and rather dominates the southern side of the Plaza Bolivar with its imposing architecture and sheer size. Construction of this local landmark commenced in 1641 and it was not until around 55 years later that it was finished, becoming the home of the college named the Colegio Seminario de Santa Rosa de Lima. Some 30 years on and the building was used to establish the Universidad Central de Venezuela, which eventually outgrew this home and moved to a large campus elsewhere in the city. Nowadays, the Concejo Municipal is used by the Municipal Council and welcomes visitors, although some areas are off-limits.
Open hours: Monday to Saturday - 09:00 to 12:30, 14:00 to 16:30, Saturday - 10:00 to 16:00
Admission: free

National Assembly (Asemblea Nacional)

Address: Avenida Oeste 2, Caracas, Venezuela, VE
Tel: +58 0212 483 8240
Lying just a short distance to the south-west of the Plaza Bolivar, the National Assembly occupies an entire block, being bounded by the Avenida Oeste 2, the Avenida Sur 2, the Avenida Sur 4 and the Avenida Universidad. This important landmark came into being in the 1870s, when it was commissioned to be the Seat of Congress. Boasting neo-classical architecture, the Asemblea Nacional was formerly named the Capitolio Nacional and is actually made up of two buildings. Each year on Independence Day (July 5th), the Salon Eliptico hall is opened to members of the general public, who are able to admire the spectacular domed ceiling and its painting of the Battle of Carabobo, created in 1888 by high-profile local artist Martin Tovar y Tovar.
Open hours: Monday, Wednesday and Friday - 09:00 to 12:00, 14:00 to 17:00
Admission: free

National Pantheon of Venezuela (Panteon Nacional)

Address: Avenida Norte, Caracas, Venezuela, VE
Tel: +58 0212 861 7131
The National Pantheon of Venezuela graces the northern side of the Old Town, with its elegance and triple tower arrangement, where it was originally constructed as the Santisima Trinidad Church, before changing its function in 1874. Nowadays, the Pantheon is used as an acknowledged burial place for famous Venezuelans. The central nave is dedicated to national hero and much-loved president Simon Bolivar, who is regarded almost as a saint. There are around 140 different tombs here, as well as a number of grand monuments and cenotaphs.
Open hours: Tuesday to Friday - 09:00 to 16:30, Saturday and Sunday - 10:00 to 16:00
Admission: free

Yellow House (Casa Amarilla)

Address: Plaza Bolivar, Caracas, Venezuela, VE
Tel: +58 0212 806 1111
This 17th-century neo-classical national historical monument is both an architectural gem and a museum of Venezuela's history and heritage. Originally a prison, in the basement are chains, shackles and iron bars, while head upstairs to find a collection of religious works of art, portraits and sculptures related to activists in the struggle for independence. Tapestries and period furniture are also exhibited at the Casa Amarilla and date from both the 17th and 18th centuries.
Open hours: by appointment
Admission: free