Cerro Santa Lucía: por qué hay que visitar este parque en altura

Located in the heart of the city, the Santa Lucia hill was converted into a public promenade by former intendant Benjamín Vicuña Mackenna, in 1872.

Sometimes it happens that we always see it there, between Alameda on the south and Merced Street on the north, and we forget that Santa Lucia Hill is an excellent panorama to visit at any time of the year.

More now that the Municipality of Santiago has just announced that by 2020 the Hidalgo Castle will be remodeled, that heritage building that became an event center.

Cerro Santa Lucía

From Huelen to Saint Lucia
Santa Lucia Hill
Photo: Valentina Miranda Vega.
Huelen (pain in Spanish) was the name by which the natives called this hill before the arrival of the Spaniards.

However, that changed on December 13, 1540, when the conqueror Pedro de Valdivia took it and, at the same time, changed the name to Saint Lucia, in honor of Saint Lucia of Syracuse, a Christian martyr popularly known as the saint of The blind.

But do not imagine that in those years there were green trees in the place, on the contrary, it was a rock of huge rocks very difficult to travel.

Its shape allowed during the period of Colonia and Reconquista to become a realistic defense fortress - Castillo Hidalgo was one of them.

Then it was the place where the Protestants were buried (those who later went to the courtyard of the dissenters of the General Cemetery), and between 1849 and 1862, the perfect place to build an astronomical observatory.

That, until the arrival of the intendant Benjamín Vicuña Mackenna, who since the beginning of his administration in 1872, decided to turn it into a public promenade, or as he said in his book Album of Saint Lucia, "a great aerial plaza."

A data? In this they worked more than 100 prisoners who were following the orders of a group of skilled workers.

What to visit

Photo: Valentina Miranda Vega.
There are several attractions, which you can meet for free in one morning or afternoon: open from 9 AM to 6 PM in winter, or from 9 AM to 7 PM, in summer.

For example, if you enter through the door of Merced you can take two paths, one that goes to the hill and another to the Japanese Garden.

The latter is a space built in 1954 with the contribution of the embassy of that country and there you can see trees like cedars and birches, and even sit in the middle of nature.

Another garden? The Circular, which is towards Merced Street, and which holds the title of being the first garden planted on the hill, there you will see, for example, small araucarias and several peppers.

Then, up the stairs, you will meet another of its attractions: the Neptune Terrace.

You will recognize it by its huge pool and a statue to the Roman God of the same name (who rules the waters) that Vicuña Mackenna himself brought from France to install in that place.

Also the Caupolicán terrace, an old fort that the Spanish military and governor Casimiro Marcó del Pont built.

In that place is the controversial statue of Caupolicán that the sculptor Nicanor Plaza made in bronze (winner of the first place of the Paris Salon, in 1868).

It is supposed to show an Araucanian warrior, but in reality his physical form, attire and feather headdress makes him resemble the indigenous redskins of the US and Canada.

On top

Photo: Valentina Miranda Vega.
The top of Santa Lucia hill is 690 meters high and there is the Mirador Tower.

It is accessed after climbing some narrow stone stairs (as seen in the main photo), but it has its reward, when you arrive you will see the city in 360 degrees, there are even some binoculars for that.

When you go down, do not miss the mural that the artist Fernando Daza made in 1971 in tribute to the poet Gabriela Mistral, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1945.

Eye, it is on the side of the Alameda and it is an amazing work in ceramics.

Source: http://finde.latercera.com/aire-libre/cerro-santa-lucia-santiago-2019/