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Centro de Arte de Maracaibo Lía Bermúdez

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Centro de Arte de Maracaibo Lía Bermúdez

Running west of Plaza Bolívar is the Paseo de las Ciencias, a 1970s development which levelled all the old buildings in the area. Only the Iglesia de Santa Bárbara stands in the Paseo; a new public park is to be opened here. Calle Carabobo (one block north of the Paseo de las Ciencias) is a very good example of a colourful, colonial Maracaibo street. One block south of the Paseo is Plaza Baralt (Av 6, stretching to C 100 and the old waterfront market) (Mercado de Pulgas). The impressive Centro de Arte de Maracaibo Lía Bermúdez (in the 19th-century Mercado de Pulgas building, Mon-Fri 0800-1200, 1400-1600, Sat-Sun 0930-1700) displays the work of national and international artists. It is a/c, a good place to escape the midday heat and a good starting place for a walking tour of the city centre. Its walls are decorated with beautiful photographs of Maracaibo. The Centro has a café, internet, bookshops, cinema and holds frequent cultural events, including the Feria Internacional de Arte y Antigüedades de Maracaibo (FIAAM). The new part of the city round Bella Vista and towards the University is in vivid contrast with the small old town near the docks. The latter, with narrow streets and brightly painted, colonial style adobe houses, has hardly changed from the 19th century, although many buildings are in an advanced state of decay. The buildings facing Parque Urdaneta (three blocks north of Paseo de las Ciencias) have been well-restored and are home to several artists. Also well-preserved are the church of Santa Lucía and the streets around. This old residential area is a short ride (or long walk) north from the old centre. Parque La Marina, on the shores of the lake, contains sculptures by the Venezuelan artist, Jesús Soto (1923-2005). More of his work can be seen in the Galería de Arte Brindhaven (free), near Santa Lucía.

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