Monday, May 26, 2014

Dia del Patrimonio, part I

Chile's Dia del Patrimonio (Heritage Day) gives people the chance to visit museums for free, enjoy parks and even get into buildings that are not usually open to the public. Lucky for us, several of these buildings are right in our neighborhood! So yesterday, May 25th, on a beautiful SUNNY Sunday, Steve, Joel, Rick and I went up Cerro Castillo to visit the Brunet Castle and the Presidential Palace.

Brunet Castle

Building began in 1923, and was finished in 1929-Brunet, who commissioned the house, sold it right before it was done and moved to the US. I wish I knew why, because this place is really lovely, and I sure would like to live there!
In 1974 it was given to the Carabineros of Chile (the national police force), and is used by the Valparaíso sector of this force for events. I'm curious as to why this building was given to the police, a year after the coup in 1973, in which the Carabineros this force is known for being above board and fair: people who think they can bribe a police officer here will end up being arrested. But the force did participate in the overthrow of Allende and were a part of the repression during the dictatorship, which ended in 1990.

 There were several life-size cut-outs of historical uniforms of the different armed forces as well as early Carabinero uniforms that preceded the modern force.

 The municipal band warms up:
 We didn't stay for the band, since they were supposed to start at 10:30, but the above picture was taken at 10:40. Instead, we went and stood in a long line for the Presidential Palace, right down the street. We spotted a cotton candy vendor, selling his wares from a foot-operated centrifuge. Joel was interested.
 Another satisfied customer:
 And did you know that cotton candy was invented by a dentist named William Morrison?

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