Buildings and Monuments

In northern Chile, Iquique impresses with Calle Baquedano and its 19th-century Georgian-style homes, which recall the splendor of the salt peter boom in Chile. Arica boasts the imposing San Marcos Cathedral and the ex-Aduana (former Customs Building), both designed by Gustav Eiffel. Near Antofagasta, there's the Pucará de Lasana, a fortress town that dates back to the 12th century. On the outskirts of San Pedro de Atacama, you can visit the Pucará de Quitor, an Incan fortress that offers a lovely view of the valley. Another must-see is the village of Tulor, a 3,000-year-old gem where you can see the rooms in which the Atacama people lived.

If you're interested in monuments and architecture, don't miss the port of Valparaíso, where the lovely Plaza Sotomayor features buildings known for their historical import and aesthetic value. Highlights include the Turri Clock Building, the El Mercurio Building, Palacio Ross and the Museum of Natural History (also known as Palacio Lyon). Make a trip to the Cementerio de los Disidentes on Cerro Panteón, which includes mausoleums of real historic and artistic significance. And this is just a fraction of what the city has to offer. Valparaíso is a master class in architectural styles.

An entertaining tour of Santiago's iconic buildings includes Palacio La Moneda, with its water fountains and modern underground cultural center, the Cathedral, the Stock Exchange, the Museum of Fine Arts (built in 1910 in honor of the country's Centennial), and the halls of the National Library. Have lunch at the Club del Unión or the Mercado Central and explore the Cementerio General, which holds the remains of some of Chile's greatest historical figures. You can also take in a terrific view of the city from Cerro Santa Lucía, and enjoy an opera or dance performance at the Teatro Municipal. This tour will allow you to learn about some of Chile's history and culture.

A prominent landmark in southern Chile is the Malleco Viaduct, an enormous metallic railroad bridge. Also designed by Eiffel, it was built in France between 1886 and 1888. It was once considered the highest railroad bridge in the world.

In Punta Arenas, Palacio Sara Braun was home to one of the most powerful women in the Patagonia during the 18th century. With frescoes on the ceilings, original furniture, sculptures and a marked European style, it now functions as a restaurant and hotel.

Examples of modern architecture in Santiago include the Museum of Visual Arts (MAVI), La Moneda Cultural Center and the Santiago Library. Southern Chile has the Museum of Contemporary Art (MAC) in Valdivia.

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