Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Palacio de La Moneda
The Palacio de La Moneda, or La Moneda, the actual seat of the President of the Republic of Chile, is one of the most notable buildings constructed by the Spanish crown in its American colonies. It is located at the heart of the capital Santiago.
The Palacio de La Moneda, originally a colonial mint (moneda means coin), was designed by Italian architect Joaquín Toesca . Construction began in 1784 and was opened in 1805, while still under construction.
In June, 1845 during president Manuel Bulnes 's administration, it became the seat of government and presidential residence. In 1930, a public square was built in front of the palace, the Plaza de la Constitución (Constitution Square). It ceased to be the presidential residence after the presidency of Gabriel González Videla.
La Moneda was partially destroyed by aerial bombing during a military coup d'etat led by General Augusto Pinochet on September 11, 1973. The then-president Salvador Allende committed suicide in the palace as Pinochet's troops assaulted the palace. Reconstruction and restoration projects were completed on March 11, 1981. A bunker was built under the front square.
During his administration, President Ricardo Lagos decided to open the palace to the public. During certain hours of the day, people of all ages can cross the palace and walk through the courtyards. President Lagos also re-opened Morandé 80, which had been the gate by which the Chilean Presidents used to enter into the palace before the 1973 coup.
Today, La Moneda houses the offices of the President and three Cabinet ministers: Interior, General Secretariat of the Presidency and General Secretariat of the Government.
In November 2004, La Moneda was one of the venues in which the XII APEC Leaders' Meeting was held.
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