The Chapel of the Tabernacle, on one side of the Metropolitan Cathedral, used to be on the same site as the former Iglesia Mayor (Main Church) after the Foundation of Santiago.
It is now dedicated to the Patroness of Chile, Our Lady of Mount Carmel (Virgen del Carmen), whose image was originally in the Basilica of the Savior, a place of worship that closed its doors due to the damage caused by the 1985 earthquake.
It was declared a National Monument in 1975.
The chapel stands on the same site as the first Santiago church, built in wood and straw, which remained standing for about eight months until the indigenous people besieged and destroyed the town under Michimalonco in 1541.
The façade of today’s church was designed by Joaquín Toesca. Construction only began in 1846 under the direction of architect Francisco Stolf, who did not complete the work for lack of funding. Works were resumed in 1858 and completed five years later.
Throughout its history, no important alterations were made until January 2000, when Monsignor Francisco Javier Errázuriz proposed that the national Carmelite brotherhood should take on the restoration of the church so that it could become the home of the crowned image and its future Sanctuary.
Thanks to many generous benefactors, the image of Our Lady of Mount Carmel was solemnly enthroned in this place of worship on July 16, 2004.
The image was housed in the Basilica of the Savior until the damage caused by the earthquake in 1985 caused the closure of this church and the subsequent relocation of the image of Nuestra Señora del Carmen in the Metropolitan Cathedral, where it remained for eight years.
The chapel has a single nave in a north-south direction that makes use of the existing colonial walls. Originally, access to the nave was via the main door that opens out onto Plaza de Armas, but today there is an entrance from the inside of the Cathedral.
A continuous barrel vault ceiling is decorated with religious scenes. The nave walls are modulated by matched Corinthian pilasters. The main façade is in exposed ashlar stone, preserving the severity of Toesca’s neo-classicism.
Plaza de Armas, 444, Santiago.