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A Day in Santiago

By: Cityseeker
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Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes

Chilean architect Emilio Jequier designed this beautiful palace and museum to replicate the Petit Palais of Paris. The palace now houses the Fine Arts Museum, one of the most important in the country and the oldest in South America. Inside the stately interior, visitors find around 2,700 paintings by foreign and Chilean artists, as well as interesting reproductions, sketches and sculptures. The museum also houses a large slide collection and an art library with more than 15,000 volumes, documents and archives. Entry is free on Sundays.

Parque Forestal sin numero, Santiago, Chile, 8320084
Santa Lucía Hill

Located in the heart of Santiago, Cerro Santa Lucia is a large hillside that has been transformed into a beautiful and alluring park and outdoor space. Tourists visiting the picturesque attraction can immerse themselves in Chilean history as they stroll through the lush gardens adorning the former military lookout point. They can also admire the intricate architecture of the park's buildings and fountains, with the vantage points providing a panoramic view of the city upon reaching the summit of the hill. Ascending the carved stairwells and staircases is an invigorating experience and visitors are exposed to the stories embedded in every nook and cranny of the structure.

Santa Lucía Street, Santiago, Chile
Santiago General Cemetery

In 1819 Bernardo O'Higgins set aside land for the foundation of this elaborately constructed cemetery. Lavish mausoleums are interspersed with simple tombs which are ensconced within leafy trees, green gardens and well-paved lanes adorned with beautiful sculptures. The bodies of every Chilean president are interred on the grounds here, including Arturo Alessandri (1868-1950); Eduardo Frei Montalva (1911-1982) and Salvador Allende (1909-1973) among others. A semicircular plaza with arching arcades forms the pathway leading to the elegantly carved and domed entrance which greets visitors as they enter the cemetery. A monument built to honor the memory of lives which perished during the destructive Church of the Company Fire is located here.

Avenida La Paz, Independencia, Santiago, Chile
Colonial Museum

With the sole purpose of honoring the artists that create beautiful Andean Colonial Art, the Colonial Museum is one of the finest museums that can showcase these in a blissful manner. The walls, corridors and the lush gardens are full of artworks and depicts the history, the culture and the religious side of the people in Santiago. You shall find here sculptures, artifacts, paintings, etc that depicts the colonial period of the region. One of the main attractions include a genealogical tree that includes 644 mini portraits of the Franciscan Order.

834 Avenue Libertador Bernardo O'Higgins, Región Metropolitana, Santiago, Chile, 8330082
Plaza de Armas

A remnant of time and history which constitutes the center of Santiago, the Plaza de Armas is a beautiful area that traces back to Pedro de Valdivia and the year 1541. In that era, there existed a protected region in the middle for guarding the arms. Its name was taken from the military and has been called that ever since. All distances in the country are measured from this spot today. The beautiful surroundings of the park convey the history of the country, represented by important buildings such as the Real Audiencia and the Home of the Governors of Chile. The architecture is reminiscent of old Spanish styles, and the city's cathedral is located on one of the sides. Also, the equestrian statue of Pedro de Valdivia, founder of Santiago, is situated here.

Plaza de Armas, Centro, Santiago, Chile, 8320000
Plaza de La Constitución

Large, panoramic plaza located in front of the Palacio de la Moneda, home of the Chilean government, right in the heart of the city. Along with the monument to Diego Portales, an important statesman in the history of the early Chilean republic, there are also statues of presidents Jorge Alessandri Rodriguez and Eduardo Frei Montalva, who were joined in the year 2000 by Salvador Allende Gossens. The Plaza de la Constituci till strikes an emotional cord in the hearts of many Chileans, especially after the events of September 1973, when it was witness to the ferocious attack of the military on the presidential palace, in the US backed coup d'etat. The changing of the police guard takes place punctually every morning at ten o'clock, and you can now stroll through the courtyards of the Moneda Palace itself, but only in a one-way direction, entering from the Plaza and leaving from the Alameda side.

Moneda, Santiago, Chile, 8320000
La Moneda Palace

A stately-looking building, the Palacio de La Moneda represents the official seat of the Chilean government. Dating back to 1805 and credited to Joaquin Toesca y Ricci, it was originally the National Mint, hence its name: the Coin Palace. The architecture of the sprawling building is distinctly reminiscent of the neoclassical style, with spires adorning the balconies and gilded windows embedded into the schematics. From 1845 onward, it was transformed into the presidential residence and government headquarters. After its destruction on September 11, 1973, the palace had to be extensively rebuilt and refurbished during the first years of the military dictatorship. Following one of the first decrees of the present Head of State, President Ricardo Lagos Escobar, the courtyards of the palace were once more opened up to public access. The measure has been warmly received by the local populace, who pass through the building, and toss coins into the ornate fountain in the Orange Grove Patio.

Moneda, Centro, Santiago, Chile, 8320000
Museo Interactivo Mirador

A project of the First Lady, Marta Larraechea, this museum features colorful and unique interactive displays that focus on hands-on interaction. Designed with school-age children in mind, the museum offers exhibits on science, technology and history. Take a look a the rich history of mining in Chile or learn about electromagnetism. This playful learning environment receives over 430,000 visitors annually.

6711 Punta Arenas, La Granja, Santiago, Chile, 8780999
Santuario de La Naturaleza Yerba Loca

This nature reserve, just one hour outside Santiago, has picnic and camping areas and small conifer forests. The 14-kilometer pathways lead to the wide Cordillerano Valley and continue on up to the hanging glaciers of La Paloma and El Altar. Abundant bird life is found at all elevations, but those who venture along the higher trails may be rewarded with glimpses of eagles and condors. Although the reserve is open year round, it is best enjoyed during the summer months from December to March. Admission is CPL1,200 for adults and CPL600 for children.

Camino Farellones Curva 15, Santiago, Chile, 8320000
Rafting río Maipo con Cascada Expediciones

The Maipo River is the most important waterway in central Chile and offers some of the most exciting rapids in this part of the country. The guides are experienced in white water and are trained in first aid and rescue techniques. The rafts are all equipped with oars and rescue ropes. Each passenger must wear a life jacket and helmet at all times. In addition, a rescue canoe accompanies each trip. The descent from Las Dimas waterfall to San Jose Maipo is 15km (9.3 miles) of pure adventure. The meeting place is at the campsite at Las Dimas waterfall. Trips leave daily at 10a, 1:30p and 5p.

Camino al Volcan, San Jose de Maipo, Chile
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