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  • Español

    “The Liberal newspaper recalls that the Columna de la Libertadmonument was built thanks to people’s donations, in homage to the conqueror of the Citadel, which later became a symbol of liberty. Among educated people, the symbols of great conquests or grand ideas have a much higher significance when compared to the names of their illustrious servants. The Capital City of the Argentine Republic offers an example: in Plaza de Mayo square, there is a statue of Belgrano on one side and the Pyramid of May on another.

    Let the same be done among us.

    Unfortunately, before dawn, on Monday 5th August 1912, the local pickaxe demolished the modest monumentin honour of liberty and freedom that Santiago had venerated so much, and which, according to writer Ferrero’s wife, was a beautiful monument, such as there was not in the cities of Italy”.

    The Liberal Newspaper – Fiftieth Anniversary Issue 3 November 1948

    In its place, on 28th October 1912, the equestrian statue of General Manuel Belgrano was placed, which still remains today.

    Libertad Square Room: The pyramid

    This room makes an allusion to our Libertad square and to the pyramid that gave its name. Let’s see its history to understand it better.

    In colonial cities, as our own city, the square was the “starting” point for the city center.  When the square’s place was delimited, then the two central institutions were founded: the Cabildo, the temporary power, and the church, the spiritual power. Cities in those times, such as Buenos Aires, Córdoba, Tucumán, Catamarca, La Rioja and Salta were all founded this way.

    The most important Spanish people lived around the squares, as well as those who belonged to the high society. Then, the low-class people, mostly known as mestizos, had their homes far from the city center. The indigenous people had their homes in an intermediate space between the city center and the rural area.

    We may think that they were really far, but it wasn’t. The city was surrounded by four avenues, which today are Belgrano, Roca, Alsina and Rivadavia avenues. These are equivalent to a radius of 4-6 blocks. The ranches were 25-30 blocks away from the main square. They were placed in today’s Belgrano neighborhood.

    The square was and still is the city’s heart. There we can see the urban culture and the architecture. Both are part of the Santiaguenian idiosyncrasy.  It is a place where people socialize, but also the place chose to remember the historical landmarks through monuments, landmarks that are part from our history.

    One of the monuments is the pyramid which was built in our Libertad square to commemorate Belgrano for being one of the greatest men of our Independence and for being the son of a woman from Loreto. Some of his letters showed the love he felt for his family’s home.

    For this reason, during Absalón Ibarra administration in 1865, a monument for Belgrano was inaugurated. On those times, people remembered the acts but not who did them. This is why the sculptures of four nymphs were created, guarding the central pyramid. The pyramid has a symbol of victory and freedom at its top. At the bottom, there is a marble base that reads a gratitude to General Belgrano for giving money for the creation of school in our province.

    As the pyramid was similar to the one at Plaza de Mayo, people started to call it “Freedom Pyramid” (Pirámide de la Libertad). Later, this name extended to all the square and it is currently known as Libertad square. For a long time, this monument witnessed the most important Santiaguenian events and was the main spot for national celebrations. However, in 1912, in commemoration of Tucumán Battle, the government decided to replace the sculptures for a new one of Belgrano, which can be seen today in the square.

    The pyramid moved through different cities until it was finally placed in the CCB. Nowadays, the four nymphs are placed on Aguirre Park. Together they form an eclectic composition between European art and local art. The local art is represented by the Kakuy sculpture.

    Lic. Alicia Guebel

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