José ILIDIO Spinola
is the second largest city in Venezuela. It is on the western bank of Lake Maracaibo in the northwestern part of the country. Maracaibo covers 1,393 sq km (537.8 sq mi) and has a population of 1.5 million people (2011 estimate), within a metropolitan area of 2.1 million. It serves as the state capital of Zulia State.
Maracaibo experiences a semiarid climate, and holds the distinction for being one of the hottest cities in the country. Average high temperature hovers between 32.5°C (90.5°F) and 34.1°C (93.4°F). The wet season is from September to November while the dry season is from January to March. October is the wettest month, receiving 114 mm (4.49 in) of rain.
The Maracaibo area has inhabited by natives of the Arawak and Carib language groups when the first Europeans arrived in 1499. The city was founded three times. The first attempt was taken by German Ambrosio Alfinger in 1529. The settlement last until 1535. The second attempt, by Captain Alonso Pacheco, was similarly unsuccessful.
The present city dates from the third attempt, taken by Captain Pedro Maldonado in 1574. It was named Nueva Zamora de Maracaibo. It was named after the birthplace of Governor Diego de Mazariego, Nueva Zamora in Spain. As with the many coastal cities in Central America, Maracaibo suffered an attack from the Welsh pirate Henry Morgan, who pillaged the town in 1669.
When Venezuela declared its independence in 1810, Maracaibo opted out, preferring to remain loyal to the Spanish crown. It was only in 1823, with the defeat of royalist Francisco Tomás Morales in the Battle of Lake Maracaibo, that the city was integrated to the rest of the Venezuelan republic.
Today Maracaibo is a modern, developed city comprising the municipality of Maracaibo to the north and San Francisco to the south.
General Rafael Urdanete Bridge, Lake Maracaibohttps://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Puente_General_Rafael_Urdaneta.jpg
Basilica de Nuestra Señora de Chiquinquirá, Maracaibohttps://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bas%C3%ADlica_de_la_Chiquinquir%C3%A1_-_Fachada_01.JPG
La Chinita International Airport (MAR) is the airport serving Maracaibo. It receives flights from Barcelona (Venezuela), Caracas, Miami, Oranjestad, Panama City, Puerto Ordaz and Valencia (Venezuela), among others.
Places of Interest in Maracaibo
- Basilica de Nuestra Señora de Chiquinquirá
Basilica dedicated to the vision of the Virgin Mary that appeared to the native Venezuelans during colonial era.
- General Rafael Urdaneta Bridge
Built in 1957 and opened in 1962 across Lake Maracaibo, this is the largest concrete bridge in the world.
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