The Historic Heart of Santiago
The Plaza de Armas is as old as the city itself. Dating back to 1541, when the Spanish conquistador Pedro de Valdivia constructed the plaza as a military training ground and, later, as a place where the city’s residents gathered or armed themselves in case of invasions. Hence, its intriguing name which literally means the ‘Square of Arms.’
The Plaza is often referred to as the historic heart of the city around which the rest of the city has grown. As a result, the square is surrounded by important government buildings and monuments like the Metropolitan Cathedral and the National Museum.
History, Architecture and Culture
The little streets that lead off from the Plaza de Armas are lined with traditional stores that display artisanal products as well as quaint little cafes where you can sample authentic Chilean fare.
The Square gets crowded during weekends when local artistes and musicians display their talents. That’s also the time when you can just stroll leisurely and bask in the charming atmosphere of a relaxed Santiago.