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Top Places to Visit in Caracas Venezuela

· Palace de Miraflores

· National Pantheon of Venezuela

· Caracas Cathedral

· Inglesia de San Francisco

· Mosque of Sheikh Ibrahim Al-Ibrahim

· Altimara

· Pico Naiguatá

1. The Palace de Miraflores began life in 1884 and was designed to be the residence of Joaquin Crespo. Today it is the official workplace of the President of Venezuela. Furniture was imported from Spain and today the palace is filled with beautiful artwork, sculptures and memorabilia.

2. The National Pantheon of Venezuela began life in 1874 as a church. It has since become the resting place and tribute to Simon Bolivar (the liberator of much of South America) and several other Venezuelan heroes. Bolivar’s gold sarcophagus fills the Nave and altar. Other heroes line the walls and aisles. The vault contains paintings from Bolivar’s life and an elegant chandelier was installed in 1883.

3. The Caracas Cathedral is a magnificent edifice constructed in 1674 on the site of an earlier church. It is the official seat of the Archdiocese of Caracas. Simon Bolivar’s parents and wife are buried here. Interestingly, Bolivar was entombed here from 1842 to 1876 when it was moved to the Pantheon.

4. The Inglesia de San Francisco is a beautiful church built in 1593 and dedicated to St. Francis of Assisi. It was the site of the funeral of Simon Bolivar. It is one of the oldest churches in South America.

5. The Mosque of Sheikh Ibrahim Al-Ibrahim constructed in 1993 can hold over 3,500 worshippers. The Mosque occupies over 15,000 square feet and is the second largest in Latin America.

6. Altimara is the most influential neighborhood in Caracas, with the highest priced real estate in Venezuela. The Plaza Francia is located here, which is a beautiful fountain and obelisk. It is a lovely place to spend a morning or afternoon just watching people and perhaps enjoying lunch in one of the many restaurants nearby

7. Pico Naiguatá is a mountain near Caracas, rising to over 9,000 feet. A picturesque village is located at the bottom and the short trip will be worth the view. Spend some time in the small village seeing what life is like in this authentic Venezuelan village.

What to put in and what to leave out are always a challenge. Caracas and the surrounding area have so much to offer, but it is just not possible to cover everything

Joe T. White