Portal Bulnes


East side of Plaza de Armas (Main Square).

This is busy commercial place that occupies a space used for various purposes since the 19th century. Already in 1820 on this block lay the Portal San Carlos, later renamed Portal Bulnes. Here, too, was set up Manuel Barros’ apothecary’s shop, the main establishment that assisted the victims of the fire that burnt down the Church of the Society of Jesus on the tragic night of December 8, 1863, becoming the only emergency medical care service. 

A year later, the construction of the magnificent Portal Mac Clure was completed following the plans of architect Carlos Brunet de Baines. Such a large-sized building was naturally capable of accommodating a large number of shops, including the first second-hand bookshop, where all kinds of second-hand books could be bought and sold. 

Between 1874 and 1877, inspired by the gallery of the same name in Milan, the San Carlos Gallery, with some sculpture pieces by Nicanor Plaza, was built inside the shopping arcade.

The south side of this beautiful building was destroyed by a fire in 1927. Its owner sold it to the Sociedad de Renta Urbana, a company which erected the current building that goes by the name of Portal Bulnes. 

The former Galería San Carlos was replaced by Calle Central, a street now called Calle Phillips. Illustrious characters of Chile’s political history, such as Presidents Jorge and Arturo Alessandri, as well as other members of their family, lived there. 

During 2014, this site was completely renovated as part of the renovation of the Plaza de Armas and traders of handbags there selling their products, were transferred to the passage Ariztía.

In this context, this heritage building became a Gastronomic Boulevard, which integrates a varied offer of first-class restaurants, as well as an innovative and cozy terrace in the Plaza de Armas.

An inscription on the northeast side reads:

“1896-1986. On this building lived Mr. Jorge Alessandri Rodríguez, President of the Republic of Chile, 1958-1964, from before taking office until his death (August 1986). He gained people’s recognition for his brilliant and patriotic performance in running the country, as well as for the extreme austerity which he imposed on his public service career. Municipality of Santiago”.

Phillips, 3, Santiago.

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