Former National Congress of Chile

Perhaps the most important architectural landmark of our republican era is the former National Congress building, which dazzles for the monumentality of its beauty. It was built on the site where the Church of the Society of Jesus (Iglesia de la Compañía de Jesús), was destroyed in 1863 by a fatal fire that left 2,000 worshipers dead, for the celebration of the Day of Assumption of the Virgin. Today, a statue of the mother of Jesus remains on the grounds reminding everyone what had taken place.

It was inaugurated in 1876 after a long construction process which involved teachers like Claude Brunet deBaines, who is the author of the original project, and Lucien Henault, Manuel Aldunate and Eusebio Chelli. Great exponents of the French neoclassicism that truly changed the face of Santiago, giving it a unique architectural elegance and harmony.

The former National Congress building was used since it was built until 1973, where its functions ceased abruptly due to the military coup. Later, the parliament sessions would be transferred to the city of Valparaíso. For years, it was the headquarters of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and today special parliamentary sessions and others events of national importance are held there. It was declared a National Monument in 1976.


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