Church Bells & Monuments
In 2009, in preparation for the bicentennial celebration of Chile’s independence the following year, efforts were made by the Chilean government to bring back three of the bells that had formed part of the Iglesia de la Compañía. After the 1863 fire, the bells had been sold to a British businessman, Graham Vivian, to be scrapped. Vivian had brought the bells to Swansea, where, instead of melting the bells, he had offered them to the Church of All Saints in Oystermouth at the recommendation of his brother. The three bells had subsequently resided in the Anglican Church for nearly 150 years.
In September 2010, the bells were returned to Santiago and formed part of the bicentennial events. Two are now showcased in a new, partially underground monument that was under construction in March 2018, when this video was captured. The monument is located in the gardens of the Ex-Congreso Nacional, where La Compañía had stood and where the two bells brought from England had been hanging in a provisional structure. By October 2018, the memorial site was completed (see the news coverage here). The third bell was placed in a separate monument in el Cuartel General del Cuerpo de Bomberos. Other bells housed in La Compañía are scattered throughout the city.
There are two principal Marian statues that commemorate the victims of the 1863 fire. La Dolorosa was originally erected in 1873 at the former site of the Church that had been demolished after the tragedy. Considered by many faithful to be too pagan, La Dolorosa was relocated to the Cementerio General. In its place, a second Marian monument in white marble was installed, and still remains in the gardens of what is now the Ex-Congreso Nacional.
Stops on the Map
Panoramic Views of the Ex Congreso Nacional
Additional Videos about the Church Fire and the Bells