The largest heritage quarter in Santiago, its streets and avenues are a permanent evocation of the cultural and architectural wealth of the 19th and 20th centuries. For some years now, the residents themselves have promoted the restoration of this quarter, creating access to the history and heritage found in its streets, cultural centers, museums and churches.
The name of the quarter is a tribute, by the authorities of the day, to Chile’s victory in the Battle of Yungay, on January 20, 1839. That historic event has been perpetuated by the creation of this urban site, a gesture that was topped off by the square known as Plaza Yungay and the splendid sculpture depicting a soldier, El Roto Chileno, as a faithful symbol of those who took part in this heroic deed.
The architectural beauty of this quarter is illustrated by the contrast between the buildings constructed for aristocratic families and those for family groups and their community life in lower-income housing such as cites and tenement houses.
But the growth of the city and the shift of the elite to quarters such as Brasil and Concha y Toro meant that Barrio Yungay took on a more popular character. On the other hand, this quarter was the focal point of the intellectual avant-garde of the mid 19th century by providing the setting for the Literary Movement of 1842. Throughout history, outstanding national and foreign intellectuals have lived and met together in this sector, namely, Domingo Faustino Sarmiento, who was later to become President of Argentina, Bartolomé Mitre, Ignacio Domeyko, Eusebio Lillo, Joaquín Edwards Bello, Nicanor Parra and Violeta Parra, among others.
In March 2022, the President of the Republic, Gabriel Boric, chose a beautiful mansion on Calle Huérfanos as his residence.
Scattered around its streets are authentic treasures that point to the fact that this spirit is still alive today. One of the highlights is the network of museums found in Parque Quinta Normal, such as the National Natural History Museum, the Railway Park Museum or the Contemporary Art Museum. This offer is enriched by the Museo de la Memoria (Museum of Historical Remembrance), the Matucana 100 Cultural Center and the Library of Santiago.
Life in the quarter still flows serenely in the narrow alleys called Pasaje Hurtado Rodríguez, Adriana Cousiño and Lucrecia Valdés, an atmosphere that contrasts with the attraction that the prestigious gastronomic suggestions found in the typical restaurant El Huaso Enrique or Peluquería Francesa exert on national and foreign visitors alike.
In this context, mention should be made of the work done by the community to preserve this heritage and take part in the activities of cultural centers, museums, artistic workshops and foundations, shaping a consolidated cultural circuit, well-known in Santiago and in Chile.
Yungay was declared a Typical Zone in 2009.