• Colombia!

    Colombia: Caribbean Sea coast. Go Now!

    Although most of the people live inland, Colombia also has its share of coastline along the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea (pictured). Go Now!

  • Ecuador!

    Ecuador: Sally Lightfoot Crab. Go Now!

    The Galapagos Islands and Ecuador are home to incredible wildlife, such as the famous Galapagos Turtle and the lesser known, but more common Red Rock or Sally Lightfoot crab (pictured). Begin Your Journey!

  • Chile!

    Chile: Torres del Paine National Park. Go Now!

    The Andes dominate much of Chile, including the breath-taking Torres del Paine National Park (pictured). However, the country also hosts the world's driest desert and a thriving metropolis. Begin Your Journey!

  • Venezuela!

    Venezuela: Los Roques. Go Now!

    Rooted in Europe, Venezuela boasts an impressive history, culture, and beauty, including the Caribbean Coast (pictured). Explore Venezuela!

  • Bolivia!

    Bolivia: Salt flats. Go Now!

    This hidden gem is full of surprises, from the impressive salt flats (pictured) to the migrating flamingos. It also clings to the most historic indigenous culture on the continent. Explore Bolivia!

Architecture of Chile

The pre-Columbian architecture in Chile was simple and little original architecture from this time period remains. Many of the people were semi-nomadic so they never built permanent structures. For these people and those that were more settled, the primary focus of building was in the form of housing. These houses were simple in nature and most used wood, mud, and other degradable materials so they no longer stand. However, there are some stone ruins from this time period, including the village of Lasana, which is home to the ruins of a stone fortress, built in the 1100s.

With the arrival of the Spanish and the colonization of Chile the architecture changed dramatically. Since Chile was slowly colonized and many regions, particularly the south, took some time to be settled, the colonial architecture is limited in area and depth. Much of this early colonial architecture was built in Santiago, but is rarely as impressive as many colonial buildings in nearby capitals. Due to earthquakes, most of these colonial structures were small and built from adobe, not stone, meaning few remain today.

Of the few remaining colonial buildings in Chile, the most impressive remain in the city of Santiago. The Basilica of la Merced is a very impressive Baroque-styled church, especially the interior which avoided many of the facelifts over time and is more original. The nearby Casa Colorada (1770) is a great example of a palace from the colonial times. Most of the other impressive colonial buildings are in this same area and vary from Baroque in style to neo-Gothic. Some of these include the Casa de los Velasco, Convento del Buen Pastor, and Posada del Corregidor Zanartu.

Due to the destruction of many colonial buildings from earthquakes and a growing anti-Spanish movement with independence in the early 1800s the styles in the country shifted. Neo-Classical buildings became the favored style, especially when it came to building government buildings in the capital. Palacio de La Moneda, the current president's palace, is the most recognizable of these buildings.

Few large scale construction projects were undertaken in the 1800s as the country struggled to find stability. By the 1930s the political scene was more stable and new buildings were constructed than in many times in the past. Art Deco was the popular style at the time and again, nearly all buildings in this style were built in Santiago. The Hotel Carrera is perhaps the best example of Art Deco in the country.

In the latter half of the 1900s and into the 2000s modern and post-modern architecture have taken over in Chile. Due to the destruction of numerous buildings in the past, primarily due to earthquakes, the cities of Chile have had plenty of space to build modern buildings with better earthquake prevention measures. This has led to a fairly modern skyline in many Chilean cities. The cities of Santiago, Valparaiso, and others now boast modern sky scrapers that look similar to many other international cities today.

This page was last updated: February, 2013