Stroll past each of Santiago’s historical sites: new tourism initiative

In what officials hope will make Chile’s capital city an “open air museum,” some metal plaques have been installed on a route through the town center, to point out the oldest buildings and attractions.  

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A set of metallic medals 12 cm in diameter are being installed to mark out the heritage route which will be inaugurated in the historic center of Chile’s capital. The project is named Santiago Patrimonial, and marks a circuit beginning outside Santiago’s Municipality building, and finishing at Portal Bulnes on Phillips Street.

The plates demarcate a 2.7 km route between Santiago’s oldest and most beautiful buildings, each one inscribed with information on the location it marks. It will be ready for use near the end of March, which marks the end of Chile’s high tourist season.

A total of 34 stops are scattered along the route, 23 of which are recognized historic monuments. Among highlights include the Post Office building, the former National Congress, the Municipal Theatre, the Augustinian Church and the Casa Montt. The remaining 11 properties include the Central Bank, the Crillon Hotel, the Church and Convent of La Merced, and the Portal Fernández Concha, among others. From beginning to end, the walk takes between three and four hours.

Santiago has about 40% of the country’s historical monuments, more than 20 museums and 17 areas of historic preservation. The idea is that with this route, people will get to know our architectural heritage,” said Maria Paz Troncoso, Director of the community planning service behind the project, in an interview with Plataforma Urbana.

Troncoso went on to explain that she hopes to expand the circuit in the future through the addition of five other national monuments: the Universidad de Chile campus, San Francisco Church, the National Library, the Museum of Fine Arts and the Municipal Market.

The first phase of the project cost around US$250,000, of which US$190,000 was financed by Chile’s tourism promotion body Sernatur, with the remaining money from municipal funds.