In most cathedrals, you want to look up. They were designed that way so that you’d look to the heavens.
And in Santiago’s Metropolitan Cathedral there’s plenty to see looking up. Its Baroque decoration rivals anything in Europe. There are ornate frescos on the ceiling, chandeliers, and gilded columns.
But it’s also rewarding looking down. It’s not just plain, worn stone here. Instead, there are intricately black and white patterns made of thousands of small tiles.
The crypt below the main floor is very different. It’s starkly plain. The austerity seems fitting.
The Metropolitan Cathedral stands on the northwest corner of the Plaza de Armas, the historic heart of Santiago. Its two towers once stood tall when they were added in 1800 (the rest of the church was constructed a half-century earlier). Now they’re dwarfed by the modern office buildings next to it. Outside, children play in the fountain. Bands play in the bandstand. And people enjoy the warm Santiago sun.