Plaza de Armas, Santiago

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  • Plaza de Armas
    by TooTallFinn24
  • Plaza de Armas
    by TooTallFinn24
  • Plaza de Armas
    by TooTallFinn24
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    Plaza De Armas

    by TooTallFinn24 Written Feb 27, 2012

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    The Plaza De Armas is more than a plaza, it is the heart and soul of Santiago. The size alone of the square is impressive compared to other plazas in South America. Within the space of the plaza there are a series of sculptures, fountains, and pretty trees with purple flowers. Then there are the massive buildings flanking each side of the square.

    The square was once the training ground for the Spanish occupation of Chile in 1541. While their use of the site as a military facility was short lived the Plaza continued to be the central focus of the city for many years. The main city market was also held adjacent to the square up until the early 19th century.

    The most outstanding of the buildings on the Plaza is the Santiago Cathedral. The current cathedral was constructed in 1747 even though at least three churches occupied the same site since the early 16th century. The building is the most commanding of any of the buildings on the square. Although you don't get a full indication of its size until you walk down the adjacent street to see its full majesty.

    There is a series of public buildings on the north side of the square. The Correo Central (Central Post Office) is at the site of the former Governor's Residence. Further down the street is the Cuartel De Bomberos which is the site of the City's oldest fire station. On the east side of the Plaza is the Municipalidad de Santiago (City Hall) and also the Museo Histórico Nacional.

    On a Saturday we were surprised to find so many children playing in the square fountains. There were also men involved playing games of what appeared to be chess or some other board game. Down by the cathedral there was a large group of mainly women from Peru who apparently had undertaken a journey to the Santiago Cathedral.

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    Plaza de Armas

    by al2401 Updated Jan 3, 2012

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    Catedral Metropolitana
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    The Plaza de Armas or city square has the same points of interest as Plazas de Armas world wide - it is the goverment and justice centre and the centre for worship.

    In Santiago this one of the few places to see good examples of colonial architecture. It is quite a large square and with outdoor cafes along the side to the cathedral and stalls selling colourful wares dotted around.

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    Plaza de Armas

    by spidermiss Updated Aug 21, 2010

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    This should be your first point of call during your Santiago stay. Plaza de Armas is the downtown's centre point where there are some colonial architecture including the Catedral Metropolitana, Palacio de la Real Audiencia (Now the Museo Historico) and the Correo Central. Look out for the garding and fountain honouring Simon Bolivar. This is the place to people watch where a lot of activity happens such as watching the chess players in the bandstands, buskers, evangelists, sellers, stray dogs, lovers and families.

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    Correo central - Palacio de Real Audiencia

    by filipdebont Updated Nov 15, 2008

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    At the left side of the Plaza de Armas (with your back towards the Cathedral), you a number of beautiful buildings.

    First you see the beautifully restored central post office (Correo central), this Correo central was the former house of Pedro De Valdivia, the Spanisch concuistador

    And next to it the Palacio de Real Audiencia which houses the Museo Historico Nacional. Here you can learn everything on the historical history of the country.

    And next to the Palacio de Real Audiencia is City Hall.

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    Statue Pedro de Valdivia

    by filipdebont Written Nov 15, 2008

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    Statue Pedro de Valdivia
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    At the big central square, The Plaza de Armas, you can not miss the big bronze statue of Pedro De Valdivia.

    Pedro de Valdivia (ca. 1502-1553) was a Spanish conquistador and professional soldier. He fought in Europe and in the civil wars of Peru and initiated the conquest of Chile.

    As you can see at the picture, there is a lot of people around the statue, there are not there because of Pedro De Valdivia, oh no, there were a couple of street artist entertaining the crowd at the other side of the street.

    I also stopped to watch the two for a while, and I must say they were really good, they stopped cars and taxis, tried to get free rides, tried to hijack a passing bicycle, and copied people passing by, all very funny.

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    Catedral Metropolitana - Interior

    by filipdebont Written Nov 11, 2008

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    Interior of the cathedral
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    The Catedral metropolitana is located at the central square in the city centre of Santiago, the so called Plaza de Armas.

    If there are no services going on, you can visit this beautiful cathedral.

    The interior is richly and colourful decorated, there are some beautiful chapels. Do not forget to look up, in order to admire the beautiful ceiling.

    There was no entry fee.

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    Catedral Metropolitana

    by filipdebont Written Nov 11, 2008

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    As you enter the Plaza de Armas, you can not miss the Catedral Metropolitana.

    It was designed by the same designer who did La Moneda (presidential palace). If you are interested and you have time, then you should also see the interior of this big cathedral.

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    Central Square

    by filipdebont Written Sep 28, 2008

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    A great place to start your journey in Santiago is the big central square, the so-called Plaza de Armas. I must admit that this is not the most beautiful central square that I have ever seen during my travels in Latin - America, but nevertheless it has some beautiful colonial buildings.

    Two sides of the square are arcades with all kind of shops, opposite there is the Cathedral and the Archbishops palace, and at the other side Palacio de Real Audiencia which houses the Museo Historico Nacional, and on the left side the beautiful Post office (Correo Central), and at the other side the City Hall.

    On the Plaza de Armas there is also a modern statue dedicated to the Indigenas of Latin-America and at the other side a bronze statue of Pedro de Valdivia on his horse.

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    Where history remains

    by Jefie Updated Sep 26, 2008

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    Monument to Pedro de Valdivia in Plaza de Armas
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    Plaza de Armas is one of the only areas in Santiago that has remained more or less the same throughout the years. It is surrounded by the beautiful Catedral Metropolitana, the Museo Historico Nacional and the Correo Central (post office) building, which I thought was the most architecturally-interesting building in the entire city (and the perfect place to go to send some postcards to your VT friends!). There are also different statues at the center of the Plaza, including a beautiful equestrian monument dedicated to Pedro de Valdivia, founder of the city.

    There isn't that much to do around Plaza de Armas but look around and snatch pictures, but since it's one of the only spots in the city where you'll see great examples of 18th and 19th century architecture, it's truly worth the detour. People will probably come up to you offering to draw a portrait or sell some souvenirs, but most are not pushy at all. Plaza de Armas makes for a really great spot to begin your walking tour of downtown Santiago!

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    Heart of the city

    by TheWanderingCamel Updated Sep 5, 2008

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    Time to relax
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    All Santiago spends some time here in the Plaza de Armas at some stage or another. This is the city's historic centre, each side bounded by interesting buildings. The 18th century Catedral Metropolitana stands facing east - as churches must. The north side is where you will find the early 19th century Palacio de la Real Audencia - home now to the Museo Historico Nacional - and the 18th century Town Hall. The streets behind the cathedral house more interesting colonial buildings whilst exiting the square to the south will take you into the city centre's main shopping area.

    The plaza is kilómetro cero, the point from which all distances in the country measured. It really is the heart of the city with its shady trees, fountains, statues and sculptures, bright balloon sellers, hot dog and drink stands, seats for sitting and watching the world go by. Why not join the locals for a while?

    Exit the plaza in the south-west corner and you'll find yourself in Paseo Ahumada, Santiago's busiest shopping street, a tree-lined pedestrian way that is always crowded.

    In the south-east corner you'll find the Casa Colorada - a lovely suvivor from colonial times, now home to the Museo de Santiago. It's open every day but Monday.

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    The north side of the square

    by TheWanderingCamel Updated Sep 5, 2008

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    Post your letters here
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    Whilst the Cathedral takes up the east side of the Plaza de Armas, and small shops and restaurants most of the south and west sides, the north side is lined with a succession of very grand buidlings indeed. Setting the scene is the great white wedding cake of the Correo Central - the main Post Office, just as splendid on the inside as the outside.

    Next comes the grand colonial building, the Real Audiencia, that now houses the National History Museum. Some of the country's most important offices have occupied this building since it was erected in 1807- under Spanish rule it was the Royal Courts of Justice, with Independence it became the country's first Congress building.

    Last in the row is the city's Town Hall - the Municipalidad. Set into the ground in front of it is a a bronze plaque showing the plan of the city in 1646.

    Two other favourites with photographers are the buildings across the road from the Correo - the first a tall tower of glass and steel that reflects the cathedral in a fascinating juxtaposition of old and new. The other is the 19th century fire station - the Cuartel de Bomberos - its bell still hanging in the bell tower on the roof.

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    Gran Capitan Don Pedro de Valdivia

    by globetrott Updated Apr 18, 2008

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    Gran Capitan Don Pedro de Valdivia
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    Gran Capitan Don Pedro de Valdivia founded Santiago de Chile in 1541 and nowadays you will see his monument at Plaza de Armas, that had also been the place, where the city was founded. Another , much smaller, statue of Don Pedro de Valdivia is to be found at Cerro Santa Lucia.
    The monument on Plaza de Armas is opposite of the cathedral and just a few meters from that monument you will see a small map on the floor : Santiago in 1541

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    Santiago in 1580

    by globetrott Updated Apr 17, 2008

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    Santiago in 1580 was just a small fortified settlement and a map of it you will find next to the map of 1712, on the pavement of Plaza de Armas. It certainly was not easy to start building such a city like Santiago with several million inhabitants nowadays...

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    Santiago in 1712

    by globetrott Updated Apr 17, 2008

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    On Plaza de Armas you can see this old city-map of Santiago de Chile in the year 1712. It is made of bronce and totally flat on the floor and I am sure most people just walk over it without even noticing. Interesting to see there, that the pattern of equal squares was the way that streets were built at that time and still today all roads follow that principle.

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    It is the center - good place to start with

    by Assenczo Written Aug 22, 2006

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    Old and new

    Plaza de Armas has been “modernized” and only a corner of it still retains some of the previous glory. Similar to many other cases, Santiago seems to show not too much nostalgia for bygone times and is building fast and modern. Most often than not, it is a sign of a mindset of people who do not have enough history to be bothered with sentimental dreams. For me it is unfortunate but for the locals must be OK.

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