Plaza Bolívar


This leafy square is the nucleus of the old town. It's always alive with huddled groups of caraqueños engaged in conversation and children feeding freshly popped corn to the black squirrels in the trees. Vendors hawk lemonade and cepilladas (shaved ices) on the sidelines, and the whole scene is shaded by African tulip trees and jacarandas. Golden cherubs gather round the fountains at each corner of the square.

In the center is the obligatory monument to Bolívar – the equestrian statue was cast in Munich, shipped in pieces, and eventually unveiled in 1874 after the ship carrying it foundered on the Archipiélago los Roques. The plaza is a favorite stage for political visionaries and religious messiahs, who deliver their passionate speeches to a casual audience. In recent years it's been a focus for supporters of Venezuela's left-wing government, with stalls selling videos, paintings and photos of the late Hugo Chávez alongside saints and musical legends.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Caracas attractions

1. Catedral

0.05 MILES

Set on the eastern side of Plaza Bolívar, Caracas' cathedral started its life in the mid-16th century as a mere mud-walled chapel. A church later replaced…

2. Museo Sacro de Caracas

0.05 MILES

Set in a meticulously restored colonial building that stands upon the site of the old cathedral cemetery, this museum displays a modest but carefully…

3. Concejo Municipal

0.06 MILES

Occupying half of Plaza Bolívar’s southern side, the city hall was erected by the Caracas bishops from 1641 to 1696 to house the Colegio Seminario de…

4. Iglesia Santa Capilla


This neo-Gothic church, one block north of Plaza Bolívar, is modeled on the Sainte Chapelle of Paris. It was ordered by General Antonio Guzmán Blanco in…

5. Asamblea Nacional


As part of his mad dash toward modernization in the 1870s, Guzmán Blanco commissioned an ambitious, neoclassical seat of congress, the National Assembly,…

6. Museo Bolivariano

0.12 MILES

This museum has successfully preserved its colonial style and displays a variety of independence memorabilia, from muskets to medals and shaving sets to…

7. Casa Natal de Bolívar

0.13 MILES

Bolívar’s funeral took place just two blocks from the house where, on July 24, 1783, he was born. The interior of Bolívar’s birthplace has been…

8. Iglesia de San Francisco

0.17 MILES

Just south of the Capitolio Nacional, the Church of San Francisco was built in the 1570s, but was remodeled on several occasions during the 17th and 18th…