19 November 2011

Cavorting in Chile: Catedral Metropolitana de Santiago

As much as I do not believe in religion, I believe in the cultural role that religion plays in society. Religion has been the pivot of most social concepts: it has moved people to immigrate, it has moved people to congregate, and it has moved people to kill. Extreme cases aside, religion also gives reason for nice architecture.

That is always the case with Latin American cities. There is always the plaza and the church that anchors it. Nothing is different from Santiago, Chile. In fact, the first thing we did when we got there was to check out the central plaza. And of course, the Catedral Metropolitana de Santiago is found right next to it.

Entering this cathedral was rather subdued. Unlike the one in Mexico City, this one is demure and subtle. The one in Mexico City had big bells and whistles, but this one is dark, quiet, and reserved. One can tell just by the difference in the interior lighting alone.

There is one heavily-lighted room right near the front; you can find it immediately to your left after entering through the main doors. There is a big statue of Mary at the front.

This is just a close-up of the statue.

This sculpture reminds me of Michaelangelo's Pieta, which I saw in the Vatican City a few years ago, except that the angle is reversed.

See how dark the interior is? I had a feeling that some lurking creature can hide behind those pillars and then abduct other worshippers.

This is a very shiny piece of religious relic.

Underneath the altar is the crypt, where they usually are. Important religious figures from Chile are buried here.

And this is a sculpture of an important religious Chilean figure, but unfortunately, I forgot who he was.


  1. The sculpts are quite lifelike, I especially like the one with the woman and the guy at her feet. I'm tempted to say its Mary and Jesus but I'm not sure.

  2. Priyank,

    I believe you're correct, that is Mary with a dead Jesus.

  3. I agree with the Pieta. And the statue of the Virgin Mary looks like the one in Sto. Domingo Church. I like this demure subtle church... like a church you can pray in.

  4. Toe,

    Yes, this one is relaxed, not too gaudy, and rather welcoming, at least, from what I gather.

  5. Religion plays such an important role in Latin America! But I kind of like the way it is interpreted. I don't know whether it is because they are further from Rome than Europeans, but I find a distinct Latino feel to it.

  6. Zhu,

    Oh, this reminded me of the time when I was in Quito, and I saw a painting of the last supper, and instead of regular meat on the table, they had a guinea pig!