Category: Tour III. La Chimba


La Chimba
This neighborhood’s name comes from the Quechua word “Chimba”, which means “from the other side”; in this case, “from the other side of the Mapocho River”. The construction of the Calicanto Bridge has given fluency to the traffic of people and goods between this area and the rest of the city. As time went by, this historic neighborhood has become the home of several of the main meat, vegetables and fruits suppliers in Santiago.

As the gateway for those who come to Santiago from the northern region and being a region of rural nature, it has become a natural source of diverse folk customs and traditions. This region used to be the home of several religious orders, including the XVII century Franciscans, and the XVIII century Dominicans and Carmelites. The influence of these orders was cemented by the popular devotion of Francisco Garcia Acosta, also known as Fray Andresito.

Landmark n°1: Puente de los Carros (Bridge of Trams)

Posted in Hito 1. Puente de los Carros, and Tour III. La Chimba

Landmark n°1. Puente de los Carros (Bridge of Trams)

Landmark n°1. Puente de los Carros (Bridge of Trams)
Landmark n°1. Puente de los Carros (Bridge of Trams)

We begin our tour in this pedestrian bridge that connects us to La Chimba over the Mapocho River. Originally built of wood with iron clamps, it used to transport tram wagons for repair and maintenance in a large barn. In the beginning of the XXI century it began to be used as a meeting point for artists and musicians. The place that once housed the barns for streetcars maintenance is now the market La Vega Chica and the bridge became its main entrance.

Landmark n° 2: Mercado Central (Central Market)

Posted in Hito 2. Mercado Central, and Tour III. La Chimba

Landmark n° 2. Mercado Central (Central Market)

Landmark n° 2. Mercado Central (Central Market)
Landmark n° 2. Mercado Central (Central Market)

This market used to be located at the Plaza de Armas, but for health issues it was moved to what was called the “concourse of supplies” in the late 1800s. The place was burned to the ground in 1864 which led to the construction of what is now known as “Mercado Central” (Central Market). This building of neoclassical inspiration was inaugurated in 1872 and is the work of Fermín Vivaceta. It consists of two rings made in masonry, one on the outside where you can find wide variety of shops and one on the inside defined by its restaurants and fish and seafood stalls. This structure is known for its beauty and functionality as it is designed to generate cross ventilation, mainly because of the lack of air conditioners in the late 1800s, which made this kind of systems necessary. Just like the “flashlight” that crowns the roof, which allows natural light to enter.

Landmark n° 3: La Piojera

Posted in Hito 3. La Piojera, and Tour III. La Chimba

Landmark n°3. La Piojera

Landmark n°3. La Piojera
Landmark n°3. La Piojera

Iconic bar and restaurant located on Ayllavilu street (old Chinatown) considered by many as “The Popular Palace” since here you can still find examples of Chilean gastronomy, iconography and popular culture. Its origin dates to the late 1800s when it was known as “Restaurant Santiago Viejo” (Old Santiago Restaurant). The celebrity of this establishment was born when then President Arturo Alessandri Palma visited this place and loudly exclaimed: “How could you bring me to this Piojera?”. A “Piojera” is literally a place ridden with lice. Ever since, the place took this name and became “Bar La Piojera” where people could find folk traditions rooted in republican sentiment and “chilenidad”, also known as “Huachaca Culture”. Every year the restaurant hosts a summit where they choose a king and a queen, who are committed to maintain the traditions of the “Huachaca Culture”.

Landmark n° 4: Estación Mapocho

Posted in Tour III. La Chimba, and Hito 4. Estación Mapocho

Landmark n°4. Estación Mapocho (Mapocho Station)

Landmark n°4. Estación Mapocho (Mapocho Station)
Landmark n°4. Estación Mapocho (Mapocho Station)

Inaugurated in 1912 and built in honor of the centenary of the Republic, today it is a patrimonial site with the purpose to spread the culture of the country. Its design – characterized by the mixing of masonry with an imposing vault made of iron wrought in France and Belgium – belongs to Chilean-French architect Emilio Jequers. The main goal of this construction was to connect the capital with other major cities such as Valparaiso and Iquique by train. It was even connected to the now inoperative “Andean train” that was meant to pass through Mendoza and reach Buenos Aires in Argentina. In the 80s Chile witnessed the decline of the railway system and in 1987 the history of the Mapocho Station came to an end. However, in 1991 it became the first Cultural Centre of Santiago post dictatorship.

Landmark n°5. Antiguo Instituto de Higiene (Old Hygiene Institute)

Posted in Tour III. La Chimba, and Hito 5. Antiguo Instituto de Higiene

Landmark n°5. Antiguo Instituto de Higiene (Old Hygiene Institute)

Landmark n°5. Antiguo Instituto de Higiene (Old Hygiene Institute)
Landmark n°5. Antiguo Instituto de Higiene (Old Hygiene Institute)

This organism was founded in 1892 and it was known as “Desinfectorio Público” (Public Disinfection Building). It was primarily created because of the infectious focuses generated by very overcrowded housing tenements that could be found all over Santiago at the end of the XIX century, mainly occupied by masses of migrants that were accustomed to living in these conditions. That is why, by this time, Chile held the world record of infant mortality. Each year smallpox, cholera and tuberculosis took thousands of lives. This building was used to study the public hygiene conditions in Santiago and was also used to house all the technical equipment and personnel in charge of the disinfection of these homes.

Landmark 6. Iglesia de las Carmelitas (Carmelitas Church)

Posted in Tour III. La Chimba, and Hito 6. Iglesia de las Carmelitas

Landmark n°6. Iglesia de las Carmelitas (Carmelitas Church)

Landmark n°6. Iglesia de las Carmelitas (Carmelitas Church)
Landmark n°6. Iglesia de las Carmelitas (Carmelitas Church)

Known as the Church of “The Carmelites”, although the official name of this church is “Parroquia del niño Jesús de Praga” (Parish of the Infant Jesus of Prague), this building is notable for its hexagonal tower and Neo Gothic style and is one of the few buildings of this kind that can be found in Santiago because they are not very resistant to earthquakes. It belongs to the congregation of “Carmelitas descalzas” (Discalced Carmelites) and became famous at the beginning of the XX century when a miracle took place at the old temple.

Landmark n°7. Pérgolas (Arbors)

Posted in Tour III. La Chimba, and Hito 7. Pérgolas

Landmark n°7. Pérgolas (Arbors)

Landmark n°7. Pérgolas (Arbors)
Landmark n°7. Pérgolas (Arbors)

This flower market was born at the dawn of the XX century, when informal vendors started selling flowers outside the church of San Francisco. This was true until the mayor Urzúa gave them permission to settle in a more orderly manner with precarious establishments. It was not until 1927 that a more solid construction was built. This remained this way until 1948, when a proposed expansion of the Alameda, Santiago’s main avenue, made them move to their current location, right next to the Tirso de Molina Market.

Landmark n°8: Mercado Tirso de Molina (Tirso de Molina Market)

Posted in Tour III. La Chimba, and Hito 8. Mercado Tirso de Molina

Landmark n°8. Mercado Tirso de Molina (Tirso de Molina Market)

Landmark n°8. Mercado Tirso de Molina (Tirso de Molina Market)
Landmark n°8. Mercado Tirso de Molina (Tirso de Molina Market)

Another must for lovers of fine cuisine at affordable prices is this traditional market for fruits, vegetables and groceries named in tribute to the baroque XVII century playwright, poet and Spanish narrator, Tirso de Molina, also known as Fray Gabriel Téllez. The origin of the market dates from the mid-50s, when informal traders settled alongside the tramway terminal. Over the years, they established themselves in a more formal manner, fully authorized by the municipality of Recoleta, although in precarious stalls. It was not until 2005, with the construction of the Costanera Norte highway, that these facilities were fully modernized.

Landmark n°9 : La Vega Chica

Posted in Tour III. La Chimba, and Hito 9. La Vega Chica

Landmark n°9. La Vega Chica

Landmark n°9. La Vega Chica
Landmark n°9. La Vega Chica

This market owes its existence to the disappearance of the trams in Santiago, since it used to be the place where they were repaired and maintained. Located right in front of the Tirso de Molina Market facing north, today it is a place that hosts several sites that offer typical Chilean meals and from other cultures. Peruvian food has carved an elite position in this place, taking advantage from the excellent quality of Chilean seafood.

Landmark n°10 : Vega Central

Posted in Tour III. La Chimba, and Hito 10. Vega Central

Landmark n°10. Vega Central

Landmark n°10. Vega Central
Landmark n°10. Vega Central

Born in colonial times, this was a meeting spot and a place of nightly entertainment for the lower classes. With State support, it experienced explosive growth in 1895, culminating with the opening of the private market called “Vega Central” in 1916. Today, La Vega is the second largest food market in Santiago after Lo Valledor.

Landmark n°11 : Iglesia Recoleta Franciscana (Franciscan Recoleta Church)

Posted in Tour III. La Chimba, and Hito 11. Iglesia Recoleta Franciscana

Landmark n°11. Iglesia Recoleta Franciscana (Franciscan Recoleta Church)

Landmark n°11. Iglesia Recoleta Franciscana (Franciscan Recoleta Church)
Landmark n°11. Iglesia Recoleta Franciscana (Franciscan Recoleta Church)

In 1645, the walls that gave life to the first chapel of the sector were raised. This place was donated to the first Franciscans that arrived in Chile.

After the earthquake of 1730, the church had to be rebuilt, and it remains the same to this day. Antonio Vidal was the architect assigned to this task that began in 1845.