Santiago's Plaza de la Constitución is one the most culturally significant landmarks in all of Chile. Situated right next to Palacio La Moneda, the seat of Chile's presidency, it is easy to get there from just about anywhere in the city. These 5 Plaza Constitución facts will help to get you excited to pay this historic site a visit.
1. It wasn’t originally a public space
In the Colonial era, it was just a housing block. Time passed and by the early 1900’s the lot had become unoccupied. However, it wasn’t until the 1940's that it was transformed into a public plaza thanks of the efforts of former president Arturo Alessandri.
2. It suffered the consequences of the 1973 military coup
During that year Chile went through some big political transitions, most important of which was Augusto Pinochet's coup d'etat. This occurred on September 11th, 1973, and was a watershed event that had lasting consequences on Chile and its capital.
Military forces bombed Palacio de La Moneda where the then president Salvador Allende was taking refuge. While the palace and the surrounding area were left in shambles, when the new government came into power, the Plaza de la Constitución was fully remodelled.
3. All of the surrounding buildings are an average of 13 stories high
Some of them are the Central Bank of Chile, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Finance and La Moneda itself. Furthermore, they all have a similar neoclassical architectural style, very consistent with the general design of the Plaza.
4. There are all kinds of cultural events throughout the year
If you love theater, concerts, craft exhibitions and everything about local and international culture, then you should check the calendar of events celebrated in the Plaza during all seasons.
The Undersecretary of Tourism is the agency in charge of promoting the work of Chile's musicians, actors, playwrights and craftsmen. The Plaza de la Constitución is a perfect meeting point for the kind of audience eager to appreciate the work of some amazing artists and storytellers.
5. A very famous statue was erected in the plaza
The achievements of Salvador Allende were recognized by Ricardo Lagos during his presidential term: a statue of the fallen president was inaugurated on June 26th, 2000. It is located in a corner of the Plaza and it has one of Allende’s famous quotes inscribed on it: “tengo fe en Chile, y su destino.” or “I have faith in Chile and its destiny”. Don’t forget to snap a picture with this awesome monument when you visit.
These Plaza Constitución facts are only a reminder of the incredible history that Santiago was built on top of. Give yourself the chance to visit, so you can recreate every one of those moments captured in time.