Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Real de San Carlos
This area, called Real de San Carlos, was built at the beginning of the 20th century by Nicolás Mihanovich a real estate promoter as a tourist complex. It cost him an investment of some $1.5 Million (US), A lot of money in those days and it included a luxury hotel, a casino, a jai alai court, and a racetrack. Most interesting of all however was that Mr. Mihanovich built a Bull Ring into this tourist complex. Only the race track (horses) is still is up and functioning (People say entrance is $1 for men and women are free) I'll have to check that out next time. The Plaza de toros (bullring) opened on January 9th, 1910. It could hold 10,000 people. Bull fighting was outlawed here in 1912.
So you can see that the bull ring was only open for 2 years, it held only 8 bullfights in total. Urban legend has it that the then President of Uruguay, President José Batlle y Ordóñez once took his daughter with him to see one of the bull fights held there. Upon seeing how the bull was treated and then finally killed in-front of everyone she cried and complained so much to her father that the sport was then banned throughout Uruguay. He was an interesting President who fought for unemployment compensation, 8-hour work days, universal suffrage and many other things.
The design of the building is in the Moorish style with key-shaped entries and arrow shaped window and stairway openings. The building like so many other unfortunate ones here in Uruguay has been left to neglect and decay. The crumbling building seems to have been made of brick and cement with a fantastic iron structure holding it all up.
Of course, it has fallen into such a dangerous state that it is now closed for safety issues. Being the photographer that I am I shimmied under the chain link fence and took a look inside watching all the while for falling stones from above.
Real de San Carlos has a tiny railway museum across the street from this bullring with some restored rail cars. The sign for this museum says to keep your ticket, so I don't know if maybe this museum might be a part of the circuit of the ones in Colonia or not. The bus route of sightseeing that I mentioned in my previous post about Colonia stops here at the bullring and the train museum. It's 1 of the 10 points of interest. That's how we found out about the bus circuit.
This post should have been called bullring and sunset because of all the pictures I wanted to include. After wandering around the bullring we noticed that the sun was soon to set. We headed to the beach to join the many others with the same idea of seeing the sun set over the water.
Slowly people gathered as the time grew nearer. Wally and I decided to go a little farther up the beach away from the others and we were rewarded by a memorable sight. A man was exercising his racehorse in the river at sunset. I snapped away!
Then as the sun finally set, we watched a small rowboat paddle off into the setting sun.
A fitting memory of a happy Anniversary weekend well spent in Real de San Carlos.