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Ciudad Bolivar

Ciudad Bolivar is the capital of Venezuela's southeastern Bolivar State. It was founded with the name Angostura in 1764, renamed in 1846, and, as of 2005, had an estimated population of 338,250.

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 Tome 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 1 mile in width, and is the site of the first bridge across the river. Another bridge has recently been constructed downstream at Puerto Ordaz.

Ciudad Bolivar's historic centre is in a good state of preservation, with original colonial buildings around the "Plaza Bolivar", including a cathedral. It today serves as an important port on the Orinoco River for the eastern regions of Venezuela. One of the Orinoco Basin's chief commercial centers, 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 there, though the company which produced them 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.


Ciudad Bolivar was originally founded, as Santo Tome de Guayana by Antonio Berrio around 1595, at a different site from that which it occupies today. The city underwent changes throughout its history, until 1764, when the city transferred to the narrowest part of the Orinoco, assuming the name of Santo Tome de la Guayana de la Angostura del Orinoco. This move was undertaken with the aid of the Crown of Spain which financed the construction of the church and government buildings. The city received its Coat of arms in 1795, from King Carlos IV, with the inscription No encontraras otra de mas variada riqueza. Due to its river-accessible location, in the period up to 1795 the town suffered attacks by pirates, in search of El Dorado .

In 1800, the town was visited by Alexander Humboldt, who described it as a calm city bordered by a mighty river, and one of the richest places that he had visited in the country, regarding natural resources. The narrowing of the Orinoco at this point increased its strategic importance making it one of the key sites in the struggle for independence. On April 19, 1810, against the opposition to the Supreme Assembly of Caracas, the authority of Angostura depended upon the outcome of a Provisional Committee, an event much influenced by Bishop Jose Ventura Cabello. Due to its geographic location the town represented a site which was difficult to conquer in the fight for independence. In 1817 after many attempts and battles, troops under the command of Simon Bolivar and Manuel Piar, managed to overcome the Spanish troops, installing the Supreme Headquarters of the Republic, on October 15, 1817, and incorporating the province of Guayana into Venezuela. On the following day, Piar was executed in the Plaza Mayor of the city, by order of a court martial.

On November 20, 1818, Bolivar presided a great civic-military assembly at which the declaration of the Republic of Venezuela was approved, against the possible intervention of the powers of the Holy Alliance, which backed Spain. The city served as the headquarters for the national revolutionary government, fighting its War of Independence against imperial Spain. On February 15, 1819, the Congress of Angostura declared Simon Bolivar, the South American military leader and revolutionary, the President of Venezuela, and on December 17, 1819, declared the creation of the Republic of Gran Colombia, with Bolivar as president. Bolivar's famous address to the congress (see link), distinguished the Venezuelan character from the North American one, with its "weak and complicated system" of government, and emphasizing the Venezuelan revolutionaries' extraordinary and complicated position , and advocated a parliamentary system based on the British model, with a hereditary senate. In 1846, the Congress of the Republic decreed that the city of Angostura, Capital of the Province of Guayana, would henceforth be called Ciudad Bolivar in honor of Simon Bolivar.

Law and government

Ciudad Bolivar has one municipality: Heres Municipality, Venezuelan law specifies that municipal governments have four main functions: executive, legislative, comptroller, and planning. The executive function is managed by the mayor, who is in charge of representing the municipality's administration. The legislative branch is represented by the Municipal Council, composed of seven councillors, charged with the deliberation of new decrees and local laws. The comptroller tasks are managed by the municipal comptroller's office, which oversees accountancy. Finally, planning is represented by the Local Public Planning Council, which manages development projects for the municipality.


Ciudad Bolivar is located at 43 meters of altitude on the south shore of the Orinoco river, in its narrower part, fluvial port of the east of Venezuela. Its northern limit is the Orinoco river, in the south it borders Raul Leoni municipality, to the east the municipalities Caroni and Piar, and to the west Sucre municipality. Ciudad Bolivar is constituted by the parishes Catedral, Agua Salada, Sabanita, Vista Hermosa, Marhuanta, Jose Antonio Paez, Orinoco, Panapana, and Zea. Geologically, the city presents a great tectonic stability, because the ancient lands, which have survived a series of collapses, also present forms of level earth relief.


The morichales are found at the shores of the rivers, the chaparral. Species including the carob tree, the sarrapia, and the merecure are prevalent, whereas the fauna is represented by such species as capibara, morrocoy, herons, parrots, lapa, iguanas, and others. A high percentage corresponds to fluvial species, like the fishes: curbinata, dorado, lau- lau, morocoto, palometa, sapoara.


The temperature average varies between 26 and 30 C. This climatic variety is represented by the periods of rain and drought, presented in high and variable forms, greater rainfall in regard to the high temperatures that cause a strong evaporation, arriving at 1022 mm annual. These high amounts favor the presence of rivers of great volume like the Orinoco, as well as others of minor volume: Orocopiche, Marcela, and La Candelaria, for example.

Economy and services

Ciudad Bolivar is a region dominated by agriculture and animal husbandry on a small scale. Maize, cassava, mango, yam, and watermelon are characteristic products cultivated in the zone. Cattle activity is represented by the bovine and pig. The fluvial fishing is carried out in a small proportion, the tourism has been receiving economic importance, which comes to reinforce the productive sector of the zone, among others economic activities of the city are, the commerce, services, transports, fast food chains, like McDonalds and Wendy's, and distributors of national and international industries, such as: Plumrose, Pepsi-Cola, Coca-Cola, Empresas Polar, Bloque de prensa de Armas, as well as the Supermarket chains Central Madeirense and Koma, among others. Ciudad Bolivar is the seat of the state government of the Bolivar state.

The Angostura Bridge has great importance as a communicational infrastructure, since it unites this locality with the rest of Venezuela. Also important is the freeway that connects Ciudad Bolivar with Ciudad Guayana. Another representative infrastructure is the General Jose Tomas de Heres airport. The city hosts hotels such as Laja Real, La Cumbre, El Bolivar Gran Hotel, El Salto Angel, Posada Amor Patrio, Posada Angostura, and others. The hospital infrastructure is represented among others by: Thorax Hospital, Ruiz y Paez Hospital, Red Cross.

Centers of education include the universities Universidad Nacional Experimental Simon Rodriguez, Universidad de Oriente, Universidad Gran Mariscal de Ayacucho, Universidad Nacional Abierta, etc, and institutes of primary and secondary education. Nevertheless, Ciudad Bolivar lacks the required infrastructure to obtain true economic and social progress, because the competent organizations have not developed a work plan that really responds to the exigency of the city, as capital and seat of the political power of the Bolivar state. Among the services of the locality are drinking water, electricity, telephone, transport, mail, Internet, banks, and malls, among others, that influence the profit of the economic development, and the well-being of the population.

The communications are represented by the roads and the media, that facilitate commerce and the relations between the people. Examples of these mass media are television , radio, Internet, and newspapers , among others. The most important routes of transport are terrestrial, as much extraurban and interurban, covering national routes, and the fluvial, represented mainly by boats that cover the passage from Ciudad Bolivar to Soledad, as well as other small towns.


Ciudad Bolivar's historical zone is a frequently visited tourist attraction, featuring houses and public buildings that date from the colonial period. The Jesus Soto Museum of Modern Art, named after the city's most famous son, sculptor and painter Jesus Rafael Soto, features a collection of modern works by Venezuelan and international artists. Ciudad Bolivar is also the place of birth of musicians like: Cheo Hurtado, Ivan Perez Rossi, Antonio Lauro , also is the seat of groups like Serenata Guayanesa, Ensamble Orinoco, and the Cestari family composed of Italian-Venezuelan singers and musicians. In events and fairs, the city hosts every year since 1971, the Orinoco Fair. Touristic event, part of a tribute to the Orinoco River. Between the folkloric musical expressions present in the city, can be mentioned: waltz, galeron, aguinaldo, merengue and joropo guayanes.

The city is also home to an array of immigrants from but not limited to: Spain, Italy, Portugal, the Middle East, Germany, China, and Latin American countries.


One of the traditions of the region's cuisine are the desserts and preserves made of cashew nuts, which can also be tasted alone or roasted with salt. The cassava bread prepared in the area is also famous as well as several meals made of tortoise such as the Carapacho de Morrocoy Guayanes (baked tortoise in its shell). A culinary delight with alleged aphrodisiac power is the Catara sauce, which is a spicy sauce made of cassava juice or yare, species, and the so called big-butt ant.

Sites of interest

Plaza Bolivar

Like Plaza de Armas or Plaza Mayor, this seat served at the time of the colonial period as a common center for political concentrations, and public market. The history of the statue of Simon Bolivar goes back to October 26, 1867, when the President of the State, Juan Bautista Dalla Costa, named a committee to erect a statue of El Libertador in the space of the Plaza Mayor. The plan for the new urban space was in charge of Regulo Machado, who the day of Saint Simon, on October 28, 1869, inaugurated the first pedestrian statue of Bolivar, and five stone statues, in representation of the Republics released by El Libertador in the independence wars in South America.

San Isidro Museum

This construction was the principal house of the Hacienda of Jose Luis Cornieles, who was a member of the first Congress of Angostura, and friend of Simon Bolivar. Bolivar lodged in this house during his stay in the city, and it was the place where he wrote his famous message to the Congress of Angostura in 1819. The house dates from the XVIII century, and conserves a noticeably colonial style. It has a chapel, in which is venerated the image of Isidore the Laborer, that was recovered in 1966. It has two centennial trees, a Kapok and a Tamarind. One says that in the Tamarind, Simon Bolivar used to tie his horse, when he visited the place. It was declared a National Historical Monument on March 21, 1968.

Parochial House

To determine with exactitude the date of construction of this building is very difficult; nevertheless, its proximity with the Plaza Bolivar suggests that it had to be one of the first in the city. Before being Parochial House and office of the General Vicar of the Diocese. In its rooms are kept compilations of religious pieces of great value, between which appear wood statues, and images like the one of Nuestra Senora de Las Nieves, patron saint of the city.

House of the Congress of Angostura

This building, also known like House of Governors, was constructed by orders of Manuel Centurion in 1766, as the seat of a school (Escuela de latin y primeras letra). In addition, it served as residence for the governors of the province. On February 15, 1817, the main hall was witness of the installation of the Congress of Angostura. Also, the last 37 numbers of the newspaper Correo del Orinoco were printed there. One says that Simon Bolivar was present at the execution of Manuel Piar, from a balconie of the house. From 1829, it became an Education center and public library; in 1840 it was the seat of the Guayana School, and in 1883 the president Antonio Guzman Blanco, classified it as an institute of first category. Nowadays it is a museum and the seat of the Historical Files of Guayana.

Ciudad Bolivar Cathedral

This church of colonial style is located to the northeast of the Plaza Bolivar. It is dedicated to Nuestra Senora de Las Nieves, patron saint of the city, whose celebration is on August 5. The central Nave measures 26 Mts, and the tower 44 Mts, which has in its interior thirteen bells and a giant clock, that each quarter of hour plays the Bolivar state anthem. The original project its from 1771, and its conclusion and inauguration from 1840, was the Monsignor Mariano de Talavera y Garces, fourth bishop of Guayana, that started up the completion of the cathedral. The original planes of the engineer Bartolome de Amphoux, that were lost, were found in the 1970s by the architect Graziano Gasparini in the Archivo General de Indias, thanks to which the structure was recovered. On February 15, 1979, under the government of Carlos Andres Perez, the building was reinaugurated. In a wall of the Cathedral, near the Plaza Bolivar, was executed Manuel Piar, on October 16, 1817, after a sentence of the court martial, who found him culprit of conspiracy, crime and treason.

Old prison

By the location of this construction of the end of the XVIII century, it was created like a dependency of the San Gabriel Fort, which was located opposite to it. It was the residence of several governors and command of the police. In addition, it worked like a public jail until 1951, when the jail of Vista Hermosa was built. This building of colonial lines erected on a small plateau, and constructed like a stone fort, presents a character of defense and force. At the moment, and after its restoration, it lodges the General Archives of Guayana and the Institute of History of the Bolivar State, the writer Rufino Blanco Fombona, and the poet and revolutionary Alfredo Arvelo Larriva were imprisoned there in 1905.

Government Palace

This building dates from the XIX century, specifically during the government of Governor Juan Bautista Dalla Costa. Peculiarly, it was constructed in the same terrains, that the Accountant's office of the Real Property occupied in the days of the colony. The building was inaugurated on June 19, 1867, and was originally designed for a single plant, but later, at the beginning of the XX century, was added its high part, structure that conserves at the moment. Nowadays it is the seat of the Bolivar state government.

Piar house

In front of the Plaza Bolivar of Ciudad Bolivar, is the house that served like prison to Manuel Piar, that was General-in-Chief of the army fighting Spain during the Venezuelan War of Independence, and Liberator of Guayana. At this time, following his military victories, Piar came into conflict with his higher-ranking white criollo superiors, including Simon Bolivar. This friction eventually resulted in Bolivar stripping Piar of direct troop command. Piar then asked for leave, which was granted to him on June 1817. In what is one of the independence struggle's darkest episodes, Bolivar ordered Piar arrested and tried for desertion, insubordination and conspiring against the government. Seeing as Piar was the only one charged and arrested in this episode, it is generally agreed that Bolivar simply needed to make an example of a single general from among the military leadership. Piar was the unlucky chosen one. He was arrested on September 28, 1817 and was judged by a court martial which found him guilty on all charges; and on October 15 sentenced him to death. On that same day Simon Bolivar, as Supreme Commander, confirmed the sentence. The following day Manuel Piar, General-in-Chief, was executed against the wall of the cathedral, by a firing squad. In a puzzling moment, Bolivar, who had decided against witnessing the execution, heard the shots from inside his nearby office and said in tears "He derramado mi sangre" (I have spilled my blood).

Jesus Soto Museum of Modern Art

In Ciudad Bolivar, between the historical and the modern city, is located the Jesus Soto Museum of Modern Art (Museo de Arte Moderno Jesus Soto). Museum created by Venezuelan artist Jesus Soto, to promote the art and the culture on his native land, taking to one of the cities of greater tradition in Venezuela, a museum of international scenes, which does not have anything to envy to museums of great cosmopolitan cities. In this, the spectator is an important part of the artistic proposals, can be found works where the movement and dynamics, will captivate the people. Among them, the Soto's Penetrable, in which different sensations that stimulate the senses, will be experienced. In the garden of sculptures different works can be enjoyed, that combined with the landscaping, and the architectonic proposal, enriches the experience to the visitors.

Colleges and universities

Universidad de Oriente

(Universidad de Oriente) or UDO, is a public institution located in Ciudad Bolivar, and the east of Venezuela. On January 8, 1962 initiated its academic activities with the Schools of Medicine and Geology. On August, 1968, the basic courses are created, and on January, 1969, the academic and administrative activities begin. At the present time, this university nucleus account with the basic courses, the Medicine School, the Earth science School, and dictates nine careers.

Universidad Nacional Experimental de Guayana

(Universidad Nacional Experimental de Guayana) or UNEG, is a public institution located in Ciudad Bolivar,Venezuela, created on March 9, 1982. This university was conceived like a center of superior education of regional character. The original name project of the university was, Universidad del Sur, that was changed by the present one.

Other universities

Universidad Simon Rodriguez

Universidad Gran Mariscal de Ayacucho

Instituto Universitario Tecnologico del estado Bolivar

Universidad Nacional Abierta

Instituto Universitario Tecnologico Rodolfo Loero Arismendi

Universidad Bolivariana de Venezuela


Buses are the main means of mass transportation, this system runs a variety of bus types, operated by several companies on normal streets and avenues:

Bus; large buses.

Buseta; medium size buses.

Microbus or Colectivo; vans or minivans.

Perrera; a modified pick-up, for mass transportation.

Jose Tomas de Heres Airport; is located in the center of the city.

Main avenues

Paseo Orinoco

Libertador avenue

Paseo Meneses

Germania avenue

Jesus Soto avenue

Tachira avenue

Andres Bello avenue

Upata avenue

Bolivar avenue

5 de julio avenue

17 de diciembre avenue

Andres Eloy Blanco avenue

Sucre avenue

Republica avenue

Paseo Simon Bolivar

Rotaria avenue

Perimetral avenue

Aeropuerto avenue

Nueva Granada avenue

Espana avenue

Colon street

See also


Bolivar state

List of cities in Venezuela

External links

Bolivar's message to the Congress of Angostura

Ciudad Bolivar at Venezuelatuya.com

Images of Ciudad Bolivar

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Ciudad Bolivar

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