National Monuments in Santiago
Palacio de La Moneda
Built by the Italian architect Joaquin Toesca y Ricci, the construction of the Casa de La Moneda took 15 years (1784 to 1799). Toesca died in 1799 without seeing his work completed, and the military engineer Agustín Cavallero was named to replace him.
The Palacio de La Moneda is considered one of the most harmonious civil buildings of Colonial America. Its sober, classical lines mark a style which would later be used for the building of the Real Casa de Moneda of the Spanish Crown.
In 1805, the Real Casa de Moneda (the Royal Mint) of Santiago de Chile was inaugurated, despite the fact that some final details were still incomplete. It is in pure neo-classical style, with influences of Roman doric, and its spaces are large and harmonious.
During the government of President Manuel Bulnes (1846), the building where the minting of coins was carried out was converted into the presidential residence and seat of government, although minting also continued there until 1922. President Bulnes had the machinery, workshops and stocks removed.
As a result of bombing in the coup in 1973, the Casa de La Moneda suffered serious structural damage. To make good the damage, an extensive restoration program was carried out and completed in 1981.
Club de La Unión de Santiago
The Clubhouse was opened in 1925 and declared a Historical Monument in 1981.
The Union Club was born on July 8, 1864, in the house of Joaquina Concha de Pinto, which was at the corner of Calle Estado and Huerfanos. It was originally composed of sixty people, all related to one another. In 1865 it was moved to the upper floors of the residence of Rafael Larrain Moxo.
This club has been the scene of the most elegant parties of the Chilean aristocracy. It was here that the rules of society, fashion and etiquette were established.
The Club de La Unión is built in the French style of the early twentieth century. The harmony and elegance of the construction make it one of the most beautiful buildings in Chile. The walls are covered in green and white marble. The bar is another of the ‘in places’ of the Club. The bar itself is of carved wood and is the longest on the continent.
The library is one of the biggest private collections in the country, and holds more than 17,000 books.
The Casa Colorada was declared a Historical Monument in 1960 and belongs to the Municipality of Santiago. The rooms of the house contain the Museo de Santiago, the Corporación del Patrimonio Cultural and the Fundación Vicente Huidobro.
The Casa Colorada was the house of Mateo de Toro Zambrano y Ureta, also known as the ‘Conde de la Conquista’, who was President of the first Junta de Gobierno of Chile.
The house was built in 1769 out of adobe, lime and wood, by the Portuguese Joseph de la Vega, who, proud of his artistic gifts, broke all the architectural canons of the colonial epoch.
The Casa Colorada is in Calle Merced nº 860, in the heart of Santiago, only half a block from the Plaza de Armas, the Cathedral and the Correo Central.
The name by which Mateo de Toro’s house is known is due to the fact that in 1888 the facade of the building was painted red.
Biblioteca Nacional de Chile
In the middle of 1813, the Junta de Gobierno which ruled Chile, whose members were Juan Egaña, Antonio Perez and Agustin Eyzaguirre, decided to found the first public library in the country.
The proclamation of this decision gave the Director General of Tobacco Taxes, Agustin Olavarrieta, the task of organizing the library and collecting the books to be donated by citizens in a sort of campaign. However, the initiative was interrupted by the defeat suffered by the Chilean forces in the Battle of Rancagua, on October 2, 1814.
Once independence had been re-established and the Spanish re-conquest had passed into history, Bernardo O’Higgins took the creation of a national library into his own hands.
On July 22, 1823, by governmental decree, Fray Camilo Henriquez was appointed first librarian, and Jose Miguel de la Barra second librarian. Manuel de Salas was given the role of supervising the establishment with the title of ‘Protector’.
On the one hundredth anniversary of the Biblioteca Nacional, on August 24, 1913, the construction of the present building was started, on a site between Alameda Bernardo O’Higgins, Calle Moneda, Calle MacIver and Calle Miraflores.
Construction was finally completed in 1925, when the building opened its doors to culture.
La Estación Central or Alameda de Ferrocarriles
Towards the second half of the nineteenth century, the Alameda was known as Las Delicias and Manuel Montt was President; on Monday September 14, 1857, he officiated at the ceremony to mark the arrival of the first train in the new railway terminal of Santiago.
The colossal metal structure with two side halls was the idea of Senator Benjamin Vicuña Mackenna, inspired by one of the stations which he had seen in Paris. The proposal was accepted, and in 1885, the French company Le Creuzot completed the construction to the design of the French architect Gustav Eiffel.
The materials for the new Estación Central arrived in Chile onboard a number of ships from France. The metal structure, constructed entirely in that country, had to be shipped broken down, and the whole complicated framework was assembled and ready in December 1897. Nonetheless, the station had been inaugurated in October that year.
It was declared a Historical Monument in 1983.
Edificio del Ex Congreso Nacional
The old Congress building was declared a Historical Monument in 1976 and today it houses the Ministerio de Relations Exteriores. It stands in Calle Bandera, 46-52.
During the government of Manuel Montt, the construction of a building for the Congreso Nacional de Chile was proposed. The architect in charge was Claude Francois Brunet de Baines (1848). On his death he was succeeded by his compatriot Lucien Henault (1855-1860).
At the beginning of the 1860s, work was interrupted due to lack of funds and the Chilean Manuel Aldunate took over the unfinished project. In 1876, during the government of Federico Errazuriz Zañartu, the building was completed, now under the Italian architect Eusebio Chelli.
The principal entrance, in Calle Catedral, is distinguishable by its six corinthian columns. The building is surrounded by a large garden (also a National Monument) which is the site formerly occupied by the Iglesia de la Compañia, destroyed by fire in 1863.
Declared a Historical Monument in 1995, the Palacio Bruna stands on Calle Merced, nº 230, and is the seat of the Cámara Nacional de Comercio.
At the request of the nitrates entrepreneur, Augusto Bruna, the building was entrusted to Julio Bertrand between 1916 and 1921. The young architect had recently arrived from Paris, where he had studied in L’Ecole Spécial de l’ Architecture.
The design of the Palacio Bruna is inspired in the Italian Renaissance. One of the most interesting details is the garlanded frieze which runs all round the building.
In 1922 the building became the residence of the Ambassador of the United States in Chile, and in 1962 it was transformed into the U.S. Consulate. In 1995 the National Chamber of Commerce purchased the Palacio Bruna for use as its office.
Bolsa de Comercio de Santiago
The Stock Exchange building was declared a Historical Monument in 1981. It is located in Calle La Bolsa, 64.
On December 29, 1893, President Jorge Montt and his Ministro de Hacienda, Alejandro Vial, signed the decree approving the creation of the public company which declared the Bolsa de Comercio legally constituted.
Before coming to its present site, the Bolsa de Comercio de Santiago functioned in sites in Calles Huerfanos, Estado and Teatinos. The present building is the work of the architect Emilio Jequier, who was inspired by the lines of the French Renaissance of the second half of the seventeenth century.
Construction of the building began in 1913, and it was inaugurated on December 15, 1917, by the President of the Republic, Juan Luis Sanfuentes.
Ex Club de Septiembre (Casa Edwards)
Casa Edwards was declared a Historical Monument in 1973 and is located in Calle Catedral, 1158, between Calles Bandera and Morande.
In 1888, Arturo Edwards built a large town house or mansion for his family residence.
By 1897 it was the property of María Luisa MacClure, who decided to sell it to the Inmobiliaria Septiembre. The new owner made it the social seat of the Liberal Party. Since that date the building has been known as the ‘Club Septiembre’.
In 1971, when it was on the point of being pulled down, the Ministerio de Relations Exteriores made it the seat of the Academia Diplomática Andres Bello, which had been founded in 1954 by then President Carlos Ibañez del Campo.
Pablo Neruda’s House “La Chascona”
La Chascona stands in Calle Fernando Marquez de la Plata, 019, in Providencia, Santiago. It bears the nickname of the women who was companion to the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda during his last years, and whose real name was Matilde Urrutia. It is a unique place, where the creative genius of Pablo Neruda can be seen in the objects with which it is decorated, and which in many cases were the inspiration of a poem by this great Chilean writer.
Funicular del Cerro San Cristobal
The funicular goes up the side of the Cerro San Cristobal in Providencia. The official inauguration of the Funicular del Cerro San Cristobal took place on September 25, 1924. It owes its creation to the initiative of Intendente Alberto Mackenna.
Palacio Viejo de los Tribunales or Antiguo Palacio de la Aduana
This building now houses the Museo de Arte Precolombino. It is located in Calle Bandera, 361-385, in Santiago.
Teatro Municipal de Santiago
The Municipal Theater was inaugurated on September 17, 1857, with the opera ‘Ernani’ by Giuseppe Verdi, performed by an Italian company brought in specially for the occasion.
The decree by which its creation and location in the old site of the Universidad de San Felipe, at the corner of Calle Agustinas and San Antonio was re-located by the Ministry of the Interior during the presidency of Manuel Montt on January 7, 1853.
It was built by the architect Francisco Brunet de Baines and engineer Augusto Charme, who benefited from the collaboration in France of Charles Garnier (who built the Paris Opera and the Casino at Montecarlo) in completing the project.
The main theater has a capacity of 1,500 spectators and the Sala Claudio Arrau can hold an audience of 250.
The Teatro Municipal de Santiago was declared a National Monument by Governmental Decree in 1974.
It stands in Calle Agustinas, 794, Santiago. Telephone nº: (56) (2) 463 10 00
Cerro Santa Lucia
This park in the center of Santiago is the best place to purchase handicrafts made by members of the three biggest indigenous ethnic groups in Chile: the Mapuche, Aymara and Rapa Nui (the people of Easter Island).
The Central Market is in Calle Ismael Valdes Vergara, 900, Santiago.
It is famous for its fresh fish and seafood, but the small crowds which throng the market from Sunday to Thursday also come here for a wide variety of fresh products which they hope to find in this curious structure, which looks like something out of a Victorian English railway station.