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About Venezuela

Geography

A tropical country, Venezuela shares many geographical features with other South American countries, as well as with Africa, Asia and Oceania, which are all located between the Tropic of Cancer, in the northern hemisphere and the Tropic of Capricorn, in the southern hemisphere.

Due to its geographical location in the tropical zone, Ranging-between 0.5 and 12 north latitude- Venezuela has a climate with mild annual changes and the four seasons typical of medium latitudes are not found. Thus, in our country there is a dry period from November to April, and a rainy period from May to October.

There is a great geographical diversity resulting from 27 climate zones, 12 natural vegetation types, 23 types of relief and 38 great geological units, with soils having a great variety of features and properties.


Climate

Venezuela's location in the north of South America gives it a tropical mild climate with momentary rains, and tropical and icy climate areas with temperatures ranging from 32F to104 F.

The coldest months are January and February, with a second minimum temperature in July. As for the maximum temperatures, they are reached in March and September. Generally, winds from the east and the northeast are predominant in Venezuela. In the South, the wind is more variable and calmed.

History

Venezuela has gone through a series of changes and transformations since its discovery until the present. In each of these periods many historic and political movements have developed, charismatic leaders have emerged, wars have taken place and peace treaties have been signed. All of which have been milestones in the history of the country, including conquest, colonization, independence, dictatorship and democracy.

The national symbols of the country are the National Anthem, the flag and the coat of arms, also born in these periods as a way of identifying and differentiating the country from others. During the periods of change, legal grounds for ruling the country were also set in the different Constitutions that have been prepared.



Bolivar: the Man.The Hero

Simon Bolivar, the Libertador, marks a difference in the history of Venezuela, especially for his struggle to achieve independence of the peoples of South America and even today the memory of his life inspires patriotism in all Venezuelans.

A military man and a politician, the liberator of South America was born in an aristocrat and criolla (native) family (criollos were the people born in Venezuela of proven unmixed Spanish ancestry) with great agriculture and cattle raising resources. At the age of three, he lost his father and at the age of nine, his mother. Since then, he lived with Jose Sanz, his guardian and legal adviser who guaranteed that Bolivar had professors to educate him.

One of these professors was Simon Rodriguez, an erudite man who had interpreted the ideas of Rousseau and of the French Revolution also tutored Bolivar.

In his many travels to Europe and to the Islands of the Caribbean, Bolivar, along with fighters opposing the Spanish rule, led campaigns and battles throughout South America to free the colonies and unite them into one sole nation called Gran Colombia.

This fight was hard and filled with betrayals and diseases, but it is important to highlight that Bolivar left his mark in all the South American lands he stepped on. A mark which remained forever and made these places important tourist destinations with many visitors coming from all over the world.

In Venezuela, every city, or town ?regardless of its size- has a Bolivar Square. Parks, monuments, towns and municipalities, and even the largest state of the country are named after him. All South American countries which got independence from Spain have important states, cities, squares, streets or monuments in honor to the Liberator Bolivar.

Making known the most of the historic and liberating heritage from the pro-independence period and the tourist attractions of Sucre, Merida, Nueva Esparta, Bolivar, Aragua and Carabobo States and the Federal District is an initiative advanced by the Bolivarian government of Venezuela. This initiative has been welcomed with great expectations.


Following the Path of The Liberator


Mrida
This state in the Venezuelan Andes is characterized by the active participation of its people in the strive for independence. In 1813 Merida's people supported Simon Bolivar when crossing the Andes during the 'Admirable Campaign'. In this city Bolivar was granted the title of Liberator on May 23rd 1813. Some important tourist destinations in Merida State are the following:

Mucuchies Town: Mucuchies is located at about 30 miles northeast of the city of Merida, which is approximately an hour of travel and is 9,491 feet above the sea level. Mean temperature is 52 F and its population 5,900 inhabitants. There is a Bolivar Square in this town, which is surrounded by a perimeter stone fence, beautiful green areas and four gates on each side. In the center of Mucuchies, you will find the pedestaled bust of the Liberator and next to it there is the statue of Indio Tinjaca and his Dog Nevado. The latter a faithful mucuchie dog (Venezuelan dog breed) who, with his escort, the indigenous man named Tinjaca, was by the Liberator's side until June 24th 1821 in the decisive Carabobo Battle.

The town Bailadores is located in the south of Merida. In Bailadores, the arrival of the Liberator Simon Bolivar during the 1813 Admirable Campaign is commemorated every May 19th. The Bolivarian Library is located in this town, specifically in the place where some years ago the residence of the Belandria family existed, where the Liberator Simon Bolivar spent the night.

Also in the south of Merida, there is an important must-see tourist attraction: the Coffee growing Hacienda La Victoria, located in the town Mesa Bolivar, between the towns El Vigia and Tovar. This hacienda was built in 1893 and since then was the source of production, distribution of coffee in the Venezuelan Andes.


Sucre
This coastal State is located in the East of Venezuela and embraces an important part of the National Park Mochima, a heavenly destination with beautiful beaches and inlets. Some of the tourist attractions of Sucre are the delicious food, the colorful cultural expressions and its warm people.

The Liberator Simon Bolivar stepped on this land twice, specifically in the city of Carupano. The first time he arrived with General Mario to the port of Carupano on September 4th 1814 and stayed there for four days, after which he went to Cartagena.

Simon Bolivar visited Carupano for the second time on June 1st 1816, leading an expedition leaving from Haiti, going through Margarita and arriving in Carupano to defeat the resistance of Spaniard Martinez Pinillos. On June 2nd he made a declaration to the inhabitants of Carupano and the neighboring towns. This declaration had the same spirit of the 1814 Manifesto and it was a reiteration of the liberating principles.

The Liberation of Slaves Decree was made in a hillock where a masonic lodge was located. Bolivar, in the presence of the people and God, pronounced and signed the famous decree granting freedom to all slaves who took up the arms against the tyrannical oppression of the Spanish empire.


Nueva Esparta
In the amazing Island of Margarita, you can see the remains of the liberating campaigns, led by Simon Bolivar, which ultimately ended the Spanish dominion over Venezuela and much of South America.

There is a region of the island called Santa Ana, where the church bearing the same name is a place to visit. In the church Santa Ana del Norte, Bolivar started the reconstruction of the homeland and it is the place where the third Republic was born, when Bolivar was appointed in that church as the Commander-in-chief of the Liberating Army on May 6th 1816. Santa Ana Norte is the birthplace of the continent?s liberation.

It is estimated that the church was built around 1749 in honor of the virgin Nuestra Seora de Santa Ana (Our Lady of Saint Anne), whose patron day is June 26th. Although the church has a great architectural value in itself, the historic events taking place there during the pro-independence period constitute its greatest value. On May 6th 1816 a Notables Assembly was held in the church. During this assembly the Third Republic of Venezuela was proclaimed as a sole and indivisible nation, the Provisional Government of the Republic was established in Margarita. In the church the chairs on which General Bolivar and the other notables sat during the meeting remain. In the entry of the Santa Ana Church there is the natural-sized statue of Simon Bolivar. In the parish of this church General Juan Bautista Arismendi lived and married Luisa Caceres de Arismendi. All these historic events made May 6th the day to commemorate the birth of the Third Republic of Venezuela.


Bolvar
In this ancient and pro-independence state in the south of Venezuela, the former city of Angostura, today known as Ciudad Bolivar, is very important since it was the setting for Simon Bolivar's famous 'Angostura Speech' on February 15th 1819, in which he resigned to the absolute powers conferred upon him and explains his vision on how the new republic should be.

One of the most interesting places is the historic heart of this city, where you will be able to visit the Bolivar Square, the Angostura Congress, the acre-colored Church, the house of Piar, the parish and the houses of the colony's governors.

Ciudad Bolivar is also the city where the first Venezuelan newspaper was printed,the Correo del Orinoco, in 1818. The facilities of the newspaper were turned into the Bolivar Museum, where the printer used for Correo del Orinoco's printing, and works of Venezuelan painters such as Tito Salas, Lopez Mendez, Marisol Escobar, Alejandro Otero, Cruz Diez, Alirio Palacios and Hector Poleo, among others are on display. There are also pieces of art dating from the Pre-Columbian era and rock carvings.

One of the most interesting places to visit in Ciudad Bolivar is the house of San Isidro, a property of the Cornieles familiy, a residence often visited by the Liberator Simon Bolivar and where the Angostura Speech was prepared. Nowadays, this house is a museum worth visiting for it shows how the houses of that time were and the beautiful gardens surrounding them.

Another historic monument, but from the after-independence period, is Fortin Zamuro, a small fort that was determining in the victory of Ciudad Bolivar where the Liberating Revolution ended in 1903.

Northeast of Ciudad Bolivar, in the borders with Delta Amacuro State, are the Castles of Guayana. These tourist attractions were important during the Venezuelan War of Independence. In these castles, Spaniards led by Miguel de la Torre were besieged after the Battle of San Felix in 1817, especially in August and September of the same year when General Simon Bolivar located his headquarters in the town of Guayana La Vieja. After the war of independence, a small garrison remained in the castles with the same cannons inherited from old times.

By the end of the 19th Century, the castles were in ruins and General Joaqun Crespo ordered their restoration in 1893 and formed a military garrison. Then, their names were changed. San Francisco de Asis Castle was named Fort Villapol and San Diego de Alcala Castle was named Fort Vicente Campo Elias.

Getting to the Castles of Guayana from the city of Puerto Ordaz, administrative capital of Bolivar State takes about one hour through an asphalt highway. In this trip, you can see the El Gallo Hill. In its surroundings, the famous San Felix Battle was fought and won, in 1817, leading to the control of the vast Guayana Province by the Venezuelan troops. From this place you can also see a distant image of the Orinoco river, flowing into its estuary into the Atlantic Ocean.


Carabobo
Those who visit Carabobo State, located in the central region of the country and having a great urban dynamism, will be attracted by the majestic Campo de Carabobo, a field located at about 19 miles to the southeast of Valencia and the historic setting for the final and decisive battle to seal the Independence of Venezuela. Campo de Carabobo is a real tribute to the fallen and heroes of the struggle for independence.

The story about this place is that patriotic and royalist troops from all over the country went on to this field to fight the battle of Independence of Venezuela. The battle lasted only one hour. The number of people dead and injured tallied 200. The enemies left 2,000 prisoners, a good deal of war material and artillery pieces.

This victory of patriotic troops was fatal for royalists, and the Spanish empire lost all of its Venezuelan territory. This field is now a park with many gardens and trees and a very wide avenue used for military parades but also for skating. During week days it is closed to the public. So, if you have the chance of going on weekend, it will be an incredible experience.


Aragua
Besides being known as the garden state of Venezuela, as the cradle of the Venezuelan drums music and Coastal dancing, and for its green mountains cold, Aragua State has an everlasting legacy in a town called San Mateo, scene of the battle with the same name and fought on February 24th 1814. This battle was led by the liberation ideas of Bolivar in his strive to break the oppressive chains of the Spanish empire troops.

Bolivar, with scarce resources and waiting for the help of Commander Mario to arrive, entrenched himself in San Mateo, in the east of Maracay, Aragua State. There, he waited the arrival of his Commanders Antonio Ricaurte and Santiago Mario who helped him to fight the resistance of the royalist troops led by General Boves. The latter was trying to make Bolivar leave the region with 8,000 armed men. In the end, Bolivar defeated Boves and forced him and his troops to move to Valencia (Carabobo).


Distrito Capital
Historic and cosmopolitan district, with constant economic and urban growth. On July 24th, 1783 it witnessed the birth of the Liberator in an old house located between San Jacinto and Traposos corners in the Cathedral Parish of Caracas.

Today, this house is a museum that preserves some original pieces of the house and some jewelry of the Liberator. On July 25th 2002, it was declared a National Monument. The Bolivars lived in this house until the death of the Liberator?s mother in year 1792. Here, Simon Bolivar received lessons from Priest Andujar, Mr. Andres Bello, Mr. Sanz and Mr. Simon Rodriguez.

The old quarter, recently restored and scenario of the tour route Freedom Paths organized by the Capital District Government, is the seat of the National Pantheon, where the mortal remains of the Hero of the Nation are; the Casa Natal (Birthplace), the Casa Amarilla (Yellow House); Plaza Bolvar (Bolivar Square) and Plaza Andrs Eloy Blanco (Andres Eloy Blanco Square), among other rich architectural places.

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