Palacio de La Moneda (the mint) is currently the residence of the President of the Republic of Chile. The offices of some members of the Cabinet of Ministers and the General Secretariat of the Government of Chile are also placed in the building. Palacio de La Moneda occupies an entire block in the city center of Santiago.
The project of the building of Palacio de La Moneda was designed by the Italian architect Joaquin Toesca. It was erected from 1784 to 1805. Building materials came from different areas of Chile: the limestone was from the estate Polpaico; the sand was from the river Maipo; red stones were from the quarry at Cerro San Cristobal in Santiago; the white stone was from the nearby Cerro Blanco; oak and cypress came from Valdivia; Spanish metal came from Miami. Twenty varieties of brick were produced in Santiago for the construction of lintels, floors, walls over a meter in thickness.
The architect Joaquin Toesca died in 1799 without seeing the completion of the construction of Palacio de La Moneda. The military engineer Augustine Cavallero finalized the project and monitored the construction of La Moneda Palace.
The first production of coins in Chile took place at La Moneda in 1814 and lasted up to 1929. In 1845, Palacio de La Moneda became the presidential residence.
During the coup in Chile, on the 11th of September 1973, the military bombarded La Moneda Palace. The restoration of Palacio de La Moneda was completed in March 1981. Although some traces of that terrible time can be seen today: the construction of an underground office complex of the President (a hopper) under the part of the square was carried out during the reign of Augusto Pinochet in order to allow the President to safely escape from the walls of Palacio de La Moneda in case of an attack.
In odd-numbered days, at 10 a.m., you can watch the changing of the guard in Palacio de La Moneda.