Straddling the Alameda, several blocks southwest of the Plaza de Armas , the Barrio Cívico is the country’s political and administrative center. Facing the Plaza de la Constitución, the repainted, late-colonial Palacio de La Moneda  is the locus of presidential authority. At 10 a.m. on even-numbered days, there’s a presidential changing-of-the-guard ceremony here.
In a development that infuriated Pinochet diehards, a dignified statue of former president Salvador Allende overlooks the plaza’s southeast corner, with a plaque inscribed with words from his last radio address: “I have faith in Chile and her destiny,” September 11, 1973.
At Moneda and Morandé, the Intendencia de Santiago (1914–1916) features an attractive corner entrance and a spectacular interior cupola. Today, ironically enough, it houses regional government offices in a building that was the headquarters of El Diario Ilustrado, a newspaper founded by the Partido Conservador (Conservative Party)—and a persistent critic of various administrations to occupy the Moneda. Carlos Ibáñez del Campo’s government acquired it in 1928, barely a decade after its completion.
One block east of the plaza, Augustine nuns owned the entire block bounded by Bandera, Ahumada, Moneda, and Alameda until the early 20th century, when they subdivided some of Santiago’s most valuable real estate, keeping only the mid-19th-century Iglesia de las Agustinas (restored in 1994), which fronts on Moneda itself and replaced earlier temples that fell to earthquakes.
Immediately south of the Moneda, the Plaza de la Ciudadanía (ex-Plaza de la Libertad) looks across the Alameda to Plaza Bulnes, where General Pinochet had once placed the sepulchre of Chilean liberator General Bernardo O’Higgins beneath an eternal natural gas flame at the so-called “Altar de la Patria” (in March 2006, outgoing president Ricardo Lagos dedicated the new plaza and fountain after opening a new mausoleum to reclaim O’Higgins from the dictatorship). One block west, dating from 1976, the 128-meter Torre Entel communications tower (Alameda and Amunátegui) is a contemporary landmark that resembles London’s Post Office Tower.