The Cathedral of Santiago was declared National Monument in 1951. Its location dates from the original layout of the city, ordered by Pedro de Valdivia and 1541. In 1745 the present temple begins and later Toesca changes to the facade imposing the classic and baroque style. Its two towers were constructed just by the end of XIX century. In this place rest the mortal remains of the first Chilean cardinal, Jose Maria Caro. The cathedral lodges in its interior the Museum of Sacred Art.
The west flank of the Square of Arms faces the buildings of the archbishopric and the Church Cathedral. It was the fifth church raised in the place. Initiated during the government of Ortiz de Rosas in 1748, the construction was directed by the architect Antonio Acuña, according to planes proposed by Bavarian Jesuits brothers of Calera de Tango. The Alday bishop presided over its consecration, in 1775. Only five years later, the priest entrusted to the Roman architect to the service of Spanish Corona, Joaquin Toesca, the execution of the facades of the Cathedral and the church of the Shrine. Toesca imposed the neoclassic style. The two towers were added by the end of the 1800. At that time, Archbishop Mariano Casanova made recover the interior of the temple by Italian architect resident Ignacio Cremonesi, author of the traveling idea to stucco the noble original stone and to paint the walls and pilasters with false imitations of marble.
The great wood inner doors towards the square – of cedar, carved before 1765 in the Jesuits factories of Calera of Tango – take step to an interior of three naves of more than 98,43 yards of length.
The Right Nave reunites important testimonies of national history, like the Urn, where the hearts of the Heroes of the Conception are conserved (Pinto, Carrera, Montt, Perez Canto and Cruz Martinez). More ahead it is the urn with the mortal remains of the first Chilean Cardinal, Jose Maria Caro. Next to the lateral door, a plaque indicates the place where the mortal remains of the four Carrera brothers are buried.
The Central Nave to the bottom emphasizes the greater altar, constructed in Munich in 1912 and a fronton of silver of 9,84 feet of length. The magnificent carved wood seats precede the altar, where the priests are located who compose the Metropolitan Town hall, called the Choir of the Cathedral. Under this esplanade are buried Diego Portales and President Tomás Ovalle. During 2005 the remodeling works, this mortal remains were retired momentarily, causing great sense of expectation. Under the greater altar is the Crypt, traditional place of sepulture of the Bishops and Archbishops of Santiago. In this nave also emphasize the Pulpits of carved wood (XIX century), the organ, made in the factories of Calera of Tango towards 1756 and altar of Santa Teresa of the Andes.
The Left Nave is characterized by a succession of altars, like Patron of the City (Santiago the Major) and the San Miguel Archangel, with its beautiful statue. It excels the Altar of the Saint Sacrament, worked in silver, with a lamp that weighs more than 55,12 lbs and authentic saint’s reliquaries. These silver works of massive or also engraved, are manufactures of the Jesuits teachers of Calera de Tango. There are Masses from Monday to Sunday of 9 to 19 hours.
By a lateral door of the left nave it is accessed the Museum of the Cathedral. It has three rooms. The Sacristy keeps religious objects, between which it emphasize detailed works of the Bavarian Jesuits of Calera de Tango as the furniture of the ornaments, the lamina shrine of silver engraved on wood, the picture of Last Supper and fourteen pictures painted by Jose Ambrosi S.J., in 1766. Other remarkable elements are the lamp of the first National Congress, polychromes Images and a baroque pulpit. In the capitulate room there is a magnificent furnished upholstery in Cordova leather and pictures of Popes Pío Vil and Pío IX. The Library, in remodeling, conserves old manuscripts signed by Ambrosio O’Higgins and Carrera, as well as works of XVI, XVII and XVIII centuries.
From the outside, next to the Cathedral, is placed the tabernacle church, declared national monument. It follows to it, completing the block, the Archiepiscopal Palace, also declared national monument, where is projects to transfer the Museum of the Cathedral to qualify the Church’s Museum.