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CAPITAL CITIES

Caracas
Maracaibo
Barquisimeto
Ciudad Bolívar
Valencia
Beyond the deversity of its landscapes, the greatest contrast which Venezuela offers is observed
in the citys. These are citys of constant growth where the vestiges of its colonial past are mixed in with the
modern metropolis, of a dizzying pace; the political, economic, commercial, and even the gastronomic heart of a
country which has everything.

Caracas
The amazing Venezuelan capital, a collage of "trees", feeways and high tech buildings, offers to the tourist
its history as another tourism attrac-tion which is added to the many which Venezuela has. The temperature stays between 15º in December and 28º in Au-gust. Moderns Caracas can be divided into various sectors. The
downtown area is the city's historical and nerve center.

Begining the bridge that takes you to Plaza Venezuela, a ver-satile, provocative city unfolds before yours eyes. Arts galle-ries, office buildings, adversiting agencies and bussinesses of all sizes line the principal avenues.

The Metro de Cracas, whic covers most of the city, is the prefered transportation of Caraqueños. Among the sites of historical interest which exist in Caracas, some are still: Panteón Nacional, Escuela Superior de Música José Angel Lamas, santa Capilla, Plaza Bolívar, Casa Amarilla, Catedral de Caracas, Museo Sacro and the Casa Natal del Libertador Simón Bolívar.

Maracaibo
Best known as the capital of Zulia, the state that pumps most of Venezuela's oil wealth, Maracaibo's tourist attractions tend to be overlooked. Nevertheless, its warm-hearted, hospitable people ta-ke
pride in showing visitors their vibrant, colorful city. Both colonial and modern, Maracaibo offers the the latest in luxury hotels and shopping malls side by side with the old-time charm and culinary skills of traditional neighborhoods and restau-rants. No need to stay in town, either - visitors can enjoy excur-sions
to enchanting Sinamaica Lagoon, San Carlos Island and the natural lightning bolts on the Catatumbo River that have to be seen to be believed. Old town Maracaibo gives the sightseer a
chance to stroll back to the beginning of the century and savor the lifestyle and customs of a bygone Venezuela.

The homes, streets and shops belong to yester year around any corner is a time-honored
saloon, a turn-of-the-century house serving typical food and sweets of the region, even a barber shop for men only.
Maracaibo is also a modern, multifaceted powerhouse that is not quaint at all, with de-luxe
hotels, gourmet cuisine, frenetic night life and shoppíng malls with all the major brands. Its boast Venezuela's
first Palace of Events built to international standards for conferences, seminars and exhibitions, one more example of the city's leading role in the life of the na-tion.
Those born to shop can happily spend whole days doing Maracaibos first-rate malls with their sophisticated
shops and food fairs. Not to be missed are the Galeria, Costa Verde, La Chinita and the newest and trendiest,
Lagomall.

Barquisimeto
A tour through its colonial past reveals pre-cious archaeological finds of long-gone civi-lizations.
Cheerful and brimming with cultural life, Barquisimeto also offers good buys for the living room with its craftmanship and music. And it is a grat eating place too: Lara State is the home of the famous Caro-ran
goat and beef dishes. El Tocuyo hig-way- just before the Carore exit-one finds Tintorero, known for its woven hammocks, tapestries and covers. Further South lies Sa-nare, a farming center with many touristics stops and an ideal place for buying fresh vegetables. Close by its fumaroles, the Yacambú dam is also located here. Eit-her
directly from Quíbor or taking a detour at Sanare, the next stop is El Tocuyo. Carora is near, the most importan feature in this cultural and cattle ranching center is its colonial zone.

Cuidad Bolívar
With its picturesque location on a rocky elevation on the southern banks of the Orinoco River, Ciudad Bolívar, the capital of Venezue-la's largest state. The beginnings of Ciudad Bolívar date from the 16th century. The heart of Ciudad Bolívar still largely conserves the look of the past.

Appreciate the many interesting architectural details and unique geographically influenced construction, check out
the shops, visit museums and historic structures -all within easy walking distance of the Mirador. On the south side of Paseo Orinoco, note the unique vintage commercial buil-dings with deep enclosed upper balconies, supported by
tall columns and forming a protective roof over the side-walk which provides welcome shade for pedestrians (sin-ce
average temperature is 28º C). In the Plaza Bolívar, de-clared a national monument and focal point of historical
events in this city, along with the customary statue of Simón Bolívar are five allegorical figures representing each
of the countries he liberated from Spanish rule: Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolívar, Colombia, and Peru.
Some 10 blocks south of the plaza is Fortín Zamuro. Nearby, facing Plaza Miranda is the Centro de las Artes.
Erected in 1870, in its "former life" it served variously as a hospital, military barracks, jail, prefecture, and even the
capitol building. It now holds changing expositions as well as offices of the sta-te's cultural Department. On a more contemporary note, not to be missed is the Museo de Arte Moderno Jesús Soto. The first stage was designed by the legendary Venezuelan ar-chitect, Carlos Raúl Villanueva, and Edgar Parra responsible for the second part. The focus of the complex's galleries is works of Jesús Soto, world-famous for his kinetic art. He was born in this city.
In addition to Soto's creations, there are excellent representations of the most important of his contemporaries working with the same concepts. They also host changing shows of artists with distinct styles.

Valencia
Valencia is the capital of an important Venezuelan State located at the northern side of Venezuela, Carabo-bo,
where took place the Batalla de Carabobo, which sealed the Independence of Venezuela. And to honor this historic event was created El ParqueCampo de Carabobo in the same place where the battle took place. This park is located 18 km away from Valencia and houses an important monument called Batalla de Carabobo con su Arco de
Triunfo and created by the Spanish sculptor Antonio Rodríguez Villar. The park also houses a viewpoint
from where it is possible to admire the plains where the battle took place and has a Centro de Interés Tu-rístico
(Tourist office) offering tourist services.

Carabobo also houses other interesting parks such as Metropolitano de Valencia, which is perfect to relax and rest; Recreacional del Sur, where all kind of expositions take place; Turístico Guataparo, which is lo-cated
at the shores of Guataparo Lake and offers cabins, wonderful gardens and motor boat services; Cristóbal
Mendoza, which stands out because of its sparkling fountains and its sun-dial.Valencia's lake is the second in ex-tension in Venezuela and houses several islands such as Tacarigua, Chambergo, Otamo,
El Horno, and El Fraile. And Carabobo's spas and beaches are also very popular among tourists.
Palma Sola and Playa Blanca are located in Puerto Cabello. The former is a vast beach offering tourists
all the services they need to have a comfortable stay and to practice water sports. The second is a public
beach offering restaurants and motor boats. Quizandal, a vast public beach, is located very near to the aforementioned beaches. And not so far is Guaicamacuto, perfect to enjoy
of a sunny day, and Gañango, where it is possible to take motor boats. And Canaima, located in the road Palito-Morón, houses places offering accommodation, food, locker rooms, and motor boat services.


 

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