Pereira’s commercial and cultural heart is the expansive Plaza Bolívar (Carrera 7/8 and Calle 19/20) with its storied statue of Bolívar Desnudo. Unveiled in 1963, to mark the city’s centenary, it was sculpted in Mexico by Rodrigo Arenas Betancourt. On the north side of the plaza, the Catedral Nuestra Señora de la Pobreza (Calle 20/Carrera 7) dates to the city’s founding in 1863, but was reconstructed following the last major earthquake in 1999. Just east of the square, there’s an unusual smattering of grace in the ornate, neoclassical Palacio de Rentas (Carrera 10/Calle 17), built in 1927, a paradigm for the architectural styles of the Republican period (late-19th and early-20th centuries) when European styles were all the rage. Two blocks west, Casa Ochoa (Carrera 7, Calle 22), is the oldest building in the city (built in 1893), and is a fine example of bahareque, a clay-and-bamboo framed structure with a central patio and distinctive colorful paintwork and/or stucco.
Five blocks west, El Lago Uribe Uribe (Calles 24–25, Carreras 7–8) is Pereira’s prettiest square with charming pergolas, blossoming trees, and the park’s centerpiece lake. On the park’s north side, the Iglesia El Claret, designed by Onel Márquez, has romantic aspirations with its steepled tower and white stones accented with burgundy. Lago Uribe Uribe has always been the city’s more bohemian enclave. Orbiting the square is a convivial mix of bars, tango clubs, and traditional restaurants.
Completed in 1997, the César Gaviria Trujillo viaduct, which connects Pereira to neighboring Dosquebradas, is one of South America’s longest bridges (440m) and is a pretty impressive feat of engineering.
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