A place that stands out for its hallmark of modernity and the avant-garde in the middle of Santiago, where restaurants offering a varied, refined cuisine converge with cultural centers, small independent designer shops and art galleries, ideal for social and cultural encounters.
The origin of this quarter, dating back to the mid 19th century, is marked by the transformation of the hill known as Cerro Santa Lucía into a park, by the creation of Parque Forestal, and by the construction of the Fine Arts Museum, between 1872 and 1910. These works were to determine the development of these street blocks into what are now their most characteristic landmarks.
It was in the early 1900’s when Barrio Lastarria – Bellas Artes began to consolidate as a spot in the capital city with characteristics of its own, whose development was bolstered with certain buildings showing a European tendency, such as the Bruna Palace.
Its proximity to the city center and its wooded surroundings turned this quarter into an attractive area for the residence and workshops of painters, writers, artists and architects, such as Camilo Mori, Luis Orrego Luco and Nemesio Antúnez, among others.
The architecture of its houses and façades, especially those by the architect Luciano Kulczewski, depict the influence of the neo-Gothic architecture of the early 20th century.
The short winding streets, some of which are cobbled, speak of an aristocratic past and provide the ideal surroundings for the restaurants and cafés that give life to this area today, along with an ever increasing number of hotels and hostels due to the emergence of new enterprises.
One of the landmarks in the quarter is the square known as Plaza Mulato Gil de Castro – so called in tribute to this mixed blood portrait artist of the colonial period – which is surrounded by restaurants; the Archaeological and Visual Arts museums; and the Vera Cruz Church, built in 1857.
As the city grew, this quarter was abandoned by the elite, and during the 20th century, it took on a more commercial nature. However, since the end of the 1990’s, the reactivation of this zone with the establishment of museums, galleries and venues such as the Gabriela Mistral Cultural Center in 2010 revitalized the nature of the quarter, which today offers its charm as a sector for enjoying gastronomic and artistic activities marked by the surroundings and history of Parque Forestal. It was declared a Typical Zone in 1997.