History and museums
Barrio Lastarria (Lastarria Neighborhood) is an historical neighborhood in the center of Santiago, Chile. Now a popular tourist hub, Barrio Lastarria is a center for cultural activity, with cinemas, theaters, museums, restaurants and bars. Activities such as festivals and live performances are commonly held throughout the streets of Lastarria given its strong cultural flavor, particularly in J.V. Lastarria street and Parque Forestal.
Barrio Lastarria is bordered by the Alameda and Centro Cultural Gabriela Mistral to the south, Santa Lucía Hill to the west, Parque Forestal to the north and Plaza Baquedano to the east. Metro stations Universidad Católica and Bellas Artes provide direct access.
Following the Conquest of Chile by Pedro de Valdivia, this area was left under the control of Bartolomé Blumenthal, a German migrant to Chile, who built a mill on the site. As with many neighborhoods in Santiago’s center, Barrio Lastarria was built around a church: in this case, the Iglesia de la Veracruz. Houses were built between the winding streets, notably the house at Plaza Mulato Gil de Castro, built in the beginning of the 19th century. Despite the neighborhood’s early origins, the plaza was only built in 1981 due to interest in preserving a series of facades beginning at the historic house of Gil de Castro.
During the 1990s, the neighborhood began a process of restoration with care not to alter its bohemian and intellectual flavor, with a number of cafés, bars and cultural centers appearing towards the end of the decade and the restoration of facades of the Iglesia de la Veracruz in 2001 and 2002. Since then, as an historic area in Santiago, it has been able to maintain its traditional character despite new development. Barrio Lastarria was declared an official Zona Típica by Chile in 1997.