Ciudad Bolivar

Beez Neez now Chy Whella
Big Bear and Pepe Millard
Thu 8 Oct 2009 22:47
Onward to Ciudad Bolivar

Ciudad Bolívar is the capital of Venezuela's south eastern Bolivar State. Angostura in 1764, renamed in 1846, and, as of 2005, had an estimated population of 338,250. Carlos dropped us safely in his home town at 8pm to the Hotel Da Gino. We stayed here on the night of the 8th and again on the 12th of October. The first night eating in the hotel restaurant. Very good pizza. Our room was large, en suite, clean and safe, our fitted bedside tables were at a bit of a jaunty angle but for $20 per night was very comfortable. Casino next door. Our return was on a public holiday so we went to the casino restaurant and shared a very good carbonara and pizza. Pat and I tried our hand at the machines, took me all my time to work out what to press - but - a cheap night out, I put a twenty Bolivar note in, played for twenty minutes and went home with the same. The 9th saw up leap up excited to be flying up to Cainama. The 13th saw us climb aboard with Carlos for the bus journey back to Guiria.


The Angostura Bridge - the most famous landmark in Ciudad Bolivar

The Orinoco River, together with the Angostura Bridge (which links up this state with the rest of the country) and its islands offer one of Ciudad Bolívar’s loveliest views.
The town lies at a narrowing of the Orinoco River and the original name was a contraction of the town's full descriptive name, 'Santo Tomé de Guayana de Angostura del Orinoco', "Saint Thomas of Guayana of the narrows of the Orinoco." The city lies at a spot where the Orinoco narrows to about one mile in width, and is the site of the first bridge across the river.



Bear standing with a bridge behind him and Beds that has recently been constructed downstream at Puerto Ordaz- nicknamed Chevas Bridge, took four years to build. Ciudad Bolivar's historic centre is in a good state of preservation, with original colonial buildings around the Plaza Bolivar, including the cathedral of Our Lady of the Snows.



The city seen from the six seater on our return from Cainama.

Ciudad Bolivar today serves as an important port on the Orinoco River for the eastern regions of Venezuela. One of the Orinoco Basin's chief commercial centres, its main products include gold, iron ore, cattle, hides and rare woods. The town also gave its name to the Angostura tree (Cusparia Febrifuga) which grows in the area. The bark of the small shrub-like tree was traditionally used as a bitter tonic and fever reducer. Angostura bitters were invented here, though the unique company has since moved to Trinidad and Tobago. In 1973 a Museum of Modern Art opened. It was designed by Carlos Raul Villanueva and was named after the city's famous son, the kinetic sculptor Jesus Rafael Soto.



Our tour of the city on the 12th showed typical scenes. The house in the middle was for sale at one hundred thousand US, as soon as the driver (not Carlos) thought we may be interested the price doubled.

The state capital was founded in 1764 under the name of Santo Tome de Guayana de Angostura del Orinoco and known simply as Angostura. For years, the city served as the base for Liberator Simon Bolivar’s military operations, leading to the final stage of the War for Independence. In fact, in 1846, Angostura changed its name to that of Ciudad Bolivar, in honour of the Liberator. The Congress of Angostura held in that city approved the creation of Gran Colombia, a new republic that was to be comprised of Venezuela, Colombia and Ecuador. The historical city centre, now duly restored and maintained, today shows signs of the historic deeds of the War for Independence.

This is the first city we have ever visited that had electrified razor wire, gated drives that led to inner gated areas in front of the "posher" houses. On our return to the city we stopped to get some beer, wine and rum at a shop that you bought through a small windowCiudad Bolivar is located 591 km from Caracas, 296 km from Barcelona (not the one in Spain), 1126 km from Maracaibo, 804 km from Barquisimeto and 1065 km from Mérida. It can be reached by road from El Tigre (Anzoategui State) and Ciudad Guayana and planes fly in to the Ciudad Bolivar airport.




The Metropolitan Cathedral of Ciudad Bolívar
Our Lady of the Snows, whose feast day is celebrated on August the 5th every year, stands on the eastern side of the central square. Work was started on the edifice in 1771 and its inauguration took place in 1840.


Bolivar Square

Located on Bolívar Square, in addition to the Angostura Congress, are the salmon-colored Cathedral, the Piar House - where Manuel Piar was imprisoned until shortly before his execution, the parish house and the mansion inhabited by the colonial governors. The present headquarters of the Bolívar State government are also situated on the square.