Mercedes - Photos: Marcelo Sola
s it stands by the Negro River, Mercedes offers an ideal environment for fishing, nautical sports and the full enjoyment of nature. It is the capital of the Departament of Soriano and it lies on National Route 2. A bridge featuring a magnificent view of the city joins it with the Department of Río Negro. The City of Montevido, capital of the Eastern Republic of Uruguay, is located 278 kilometers away.
Just like in the rest of the Uruguayan littoral, the climate in this area is temperate and humid. Its average annual temperature is 15° C and its four seasons are well defined.
When touring around its neighborhoods, visitors may appreciate a beautiful variety of architectural styles. But undoubtedly, the great attraction of Mercedes resides in the waterfront promenade. As it is a city which faces the river, it has succeeded in decorating this space in such a way that it may be enjoyed by the people who come along to see it. Each of its shady squares lodges sculptures that create the sensation of being in an outdoor museum.
Isla del Puerto (Port Island) is joined to the city through a small street and enables travelers to spend some peaceful days camping in a venue which provides all the basic services. Birdwatching and wildlife mapping are some of the activities practiced there.
Mercedes is a joyful and lively city. An important calendar of events is organized during the entire year in order to foster tourism. The most outstanding happenings include the International Jazz Street Festival, the Power Boat F1 Great Prize, the Carnival and the “Grito de Asencio” (Asencio’s Scream) Festival, which attract a great audience.
Besides the river, life revolves around its shores. Mercedes has two significant historical relics. One of them is the Viscount of Mauá’s castle, featuring a spacious lawn, a winery where wine is handmade and a paleontologic museum. The other one is the cathedral of Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes (Our Lady of Mercy), located in the heart of the city. It was declared National Historical Monument and it brandishes a majestic façade and domes. It is totally worth a visit.
This is Mercedes, ancient as well as beautiful. Historians assert that “the country was born here” as proclaimed by General Artigas on April 11, 1811. Undoubtedly, a site loaded with history and charm.