Even though is not the highest hill in town, the hill its 69 meters high and has an altitude of 629 meters above sea level, for its strategic location the spaniards transformed its 65.300 meters in a high ground observation spot to detect indigenous attacks.
It is for excellence the place to obtain crafts of the three indigenous towns of greater influence throughout the Chilean territory: mapuches, aymaras and Rapa nui crafts.
Denominated as Huelen by the native people – that in mapuche language means pain, sadness or melancholy. Here were constructed the first hermitages, of the Virgin of Socorro in 1543 of Santa Lucia and later San Saturnino. During Re- conquests (1814-1817), the last Spanish governor, Don Casimiro Marco Del Pont, taking advantage of its strategic location, with ample dominion on the city and the valley, turned the place in bastion of the realistic defense. He constructed two batteries, the Marco Del Pont (later González Castle – Caupolicán Seat) and the Santa Lucia (Hidalgo Fortress).
After Independence, the Cerro Santa Lucia maintained its rustic character until Benjamin Vicuña Mackenna, Intendant of Santiago during the period from 1872 to 1875, initiated its ambitious project of urban remodeling. Inspired by places that he had visited in Europe, it had as his favorite work the transformation of the rustic rock of Santa Lucia in an important public park. That “accumulation of hurt rocks and without grace, refuge of criminals”, as the public man would say, became a swarm in which 150 criminals of the jail worked frenetically. The main works were finished the same year of the beginning of the workings. September 17th of 1872 part of the walkway in the hill was inaugurated, with “100 shoots in live rock”. The porch and the monumental scale were completed between 1897 and 1903. We recommended a stroll (always in diurnal schedule and without venturing by solitary places). The access of Bernardo O’Higgins Av. is the most visible face of the hill, with its great entrance of neoclassic style projected by the Villeneuve architect and finished at the beginning of XX century. In this sector is the indigenous Art Exhibition Center with a varied sample of crafts of the Aymara, Mapuche and Rapa Nui cultures. The summer schedule is from Monday to Saturday of 10 to 19 hours; the rest of the year, 10 to 18 hours.
Go up by the monumental stairs until the vehicular road and advance by this one in North direction until arriving at the Caupolicán square, raised on the Marco Del Pont fortress, with the sculpture of the same name, that in fact never it tried to represent the Chilean native. During the summer season, it works like center of theater and concerts.
From the Cerro Santa Lucia it will have, on clean and cleared days, a precious view towards the center and the west of the Santiago city. Also you can appreciate the good maintained of its parks and gardens, in addition to the intense movement of young people in the sector.
In the North area of the Cerro Santa Lucia, another Spanish fortress, the of Santa Lucia, constructed by Marco Del Pont in 1816, was remodeled becoming now in the Hidalgo Castle, that at the moment works like an events center.
Vicuña Mackenna rescued historical objects to decorate the hill, like the bell of the set fired Church of the Compañia, a Spanish shield sculpted in stone of the Cerro San Cristobal or the gate of the main access, commanded to make by the governor Joaquin del Pinto in 1801, that was installed originally in the House of Currency (Casa de la Moneda).
Almost at the summit is the Hermitage of neo-gothic style, where the mortal remains of Don Benjamin Vicuña Mackenna rest that he made construct. The entrance is free, in summer is open of Monday to Sunday 9 to 20 hours; rest of the year, 9 to 19 hours. There are free guided visits by the hill Thursdays of 11 and 13 hours, and start from the Tourist Information bureau, located in the Neptune terrace opened from Monday to Thursday of 9 to 18 hours and Fridays of 9 to 17 hours.
Is very traditional to listen, at noon the cannon shot, from the top of the Cerro Santa Lucia, indicating the noon.
Access to the Cerro Santa Lucía can be by subway arriving at the Santa Lucia Subway station on Line 1, Public transport or by car (See our car rental) parking in the underground parking lots right next to the Cerro Santa Lucía.