Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Gabriela Mistral Cultural Center

 From the outside, standing at Av. Alameda the cultural center is huge.
 The glass roof was made to look like flying kites. Kites are huge in Chile, and during the weekend of the bicentennial you could see hundreds of kites in the air.
During the Pinochet regime the beautiful houses behind the Gabriela Mistral building were reserved for people in the cabinet or serving under Pinochet.
These door handles were first made under President Allende, the first communist to be elected to office in Latin America. These were installed as a "Power to the People!" kind of symbol. When Pinochet came to power, these were turned upside-down, to create a Do Not Enter look.
 "Don Allende" as Bar The Clinic refers to him. A poster with him outside during Santiago a Mil, a variety of affordable and free cultural events including symphonic performances, marionette shows (which I was trying to attend), theatrical performances, and dance among others.
  Big cloth fish in the middle of the cultural center.

The Gabriela Mistral cultural center was initially constructed under communist president Salvador Allende as a place for culture, but shortly after he was overthrown by the military junta and the presidential palace was bombed in 1973, this became the government headquarters.

In 2010, for the bicentennial, it was restored to its original use, as a cultural center, and is host to a large library, rotating art exhibitions, and other cultural events.

There are tons of sculptures throughout, but what is more interesting to me is the history. That the two houses of government were once moved here from Valparaiso to be in Santiago. The bombing of the palace that is just down the street is another totally fascinating component of this building's history.

The outside of the building is beautiful, and I love the glass over the patio made to look like kites. This is a beautiful place to just wander through, and is (like everything) close to the house. Just a short walk down beautiful Lastarria.


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