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Plaza de Armas. Main Square
Designed by Pedro de Valdivia, it is considered the heart of the city. It is surrounded by the Cathedral, the Audiencia Real (Royal Court), the Central Post Office -formerly the conqueror's house- and Santiago's City Hall. At sunset it becomes a meeting and relaxation point where senior citizens, immigrants or mere passers-by take a rest, feed the pigeons o just hang out under the fresh shade of leafy trees.

Santiago's Cathedral.
Cathedral of Santiago Santiago Chile Travel The building of the current temple -the fourth one, since the previous three were shattered by earthquakes and fires- was initiated during the government of Ortiz de Rosas, between 1748 and 1775. The new church was located in the same place chosen by Pedro de Valdivia, the city's founder, for the original one.

Joaquin Toesca intervened in its fourth restoration giving architectural unity to the Cathedral, as he blended both classical and baroque characteristics. Inside, it is possible to appreciate three naves, two on the sides and a higher one in the center, as well as a barrel-vaulted ceiling.

Some of the most outstanding features are the main altar, original from Munich and made of white marble with applications in bronze and lapis lazuli; the Holy Sacrament chapel, similar to the Saint John and Saint Paul Martyr chapel in Rome; as well as the organs, pulpits and carved mahogany altar seats, dating from the 18th century.

The Cathedral was declared a National Monument in 1951 and houses the Museum of Sacred Art.

"Real Audiencia" Palace or National Historical Museum.
Putting of the Sun Calama Chile TravelIt was built between 1804 and 1907. The works were in the hands of Juan José de Goycolea, who imprinted a neo-classical style with Tuscan elements. It was inaugurated in 1808 and it was used as Court seat during colonial times.

It later became the place where the First Local Government ("Primera Junta de Gobierno") declared Chilean independence. In 1911, it was turned into the National Historical Museum with over 12 thousand pieces, distributed throughout the 16 rooms representing the different periods of the history of Chile. It was declared a National Monument in 1969.
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    Santiago's City Hall.
    It is located on the northern wing of the square, on the same site where the "Cabildo" -Chilean Government seat- functioned during colonial times, and was later occupied by a prison. The first construction was built in 1670 and rebuilt in 1790. It was destroyed by a fire a century later and restored between 1892 and 1895, according to designs typical of the time.

    "Palacio de la Moneda".
    Palace of the Currency Santiago Chile Travel It is the government and presidential seat. The building of this colonial site was ordered by the Spanish Crown toward the end of the 18th century. The design was in the hands of the Italian architect Joaquin Toesca, who directed the works between 1784 and 1799 and gave the building a neo-classical yet austere style. Originally it housed the Mint. However, after the Chilean declaration of independence it became the residence of the presidents of Chile.

    "Casa Colorada" (Red House).
    It is the best-kept colonial residence in town. Located in Merced 860, it was built in 1769 by Don Mateo del Toro y Zambrano, a prosperous businessman who bought the title of Count of the Conquest from the Spanish Royal Family. This beautiful house was under construction for a whole decade and it broke a few of the architectural canons of the time.

    It was the first two-storied building with a stone-covered façade. But that was not the only innovation: the first floor was destined for the family's commercial activities, whereas the second floor was used as a residence. In 1978, the "Red House", so called after its red façade, was declared a National Monument. Two years later, it became Santiago's Museum. Its seven rooms exhibit the life of Santiago from the times of the Araucanos to the present day.

    Cousiño Palace.
    This elegant Versailles-style mansion, which combines harmonious, sober and stylish lines, truthfully represents the interests, tastes and way of life of the Chilean elite toward the end of the 19th and beginnings of the 20th century. It was built by the progressive and influential aristocrat Mr. Luis Cousiño, who entrusted the architect Paul Lathoud with the construction of the majestic residence to honor both his wife, Mrs. Isidora Goyenechea, and show the extent of his fortune, one of the largest in the country.

    The house has an impressive double-height living room with a marble staircase, as well as ample rooms and a dining room with original furniture. The house decoration is also magnificent: iron railings, delicate wood, velvet, brocade and silk wall coverings.

    In 1941, the mansion and part of the furniture were acquired by Santiago's City Town Hall and later it became a museum and lodging place for distinguished visitors, such as General De Gaulle and Marshal Tito, among others. In 1968, the second and third stories were seriously destroyed by fire, but they were later restored.
    The palace has been declared a National Monument. Address: Calle Dieciocho 438.

    Mapocho Station.
    It is currently the largest cultural center in the country, presenting a wide variety of artistic and cultural expressions. This former train station, which used to connect Santiago with the city of Mendoza in Argentina, as well as with the northern part of the country and the port in Valparaiso, operated between 1913 and 1987.

    Its construction was in the hands of the Chilean architect Emilio Jequier, who had been strongly influenced during his studies in France by Gustavo Eiffel's style. Thus, steel constitutes a central element in his work.

    Once the station had stopped functioning as such, it remained abandoned until the recycling works started turning the place into an important cultural center. The refurbishment ended in 1994 with few changes, since respecting the original design was a top priority.
    Address: Balmaceda 1215.




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