Metropolitan Cathedral of Santiago: a major religious building

Metropolitan Cathedral of Santiago: a major religious building

It is difficult to ignore the massive architecture of this building overlooking the Plaza de Armas, especially as it symbolises the favourite place of Catholic worship for Chileans.

The cathedral is a contemporary of the city, founded in 1541. By the will of Don Pedro de Valdivia, the lieutenant of the conquistador Pizarro, Santiago was built as a garrison town with long streets at right angles that converge on a central armoury.

The highlight, the original cathedral, a victim of the powerful earthquakes that have shaken the continent over the past 300 years, has been rebuilt five times. The current facade was built under the direction of an Italian architect, before its consecration in 1840. This monumental stone vessel, influenced by neoclassicism, represents the central axis of an episcopal city that includes the Archbishopric and the Church of Sagrario.

Though the arcades lined with pink marble supporting its vault are spectacular, it is also interesting to see the paintings in the nave for the intensity of their religious scenes. A crypt under the main altar houses the tombs of prelates who have shaped the history of the city.

Catedral Metropolitana
Plaza de Armas
Región Metropolitana

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