Coquimbo is peppered with beautiful monuments all over town. Specifically, the the Millennium Cross, the Mosque, the Mirador, Forte, and fresh markets.
CRUZ DEL TERCER MILENIO – “THE MILLENNIUM CROSS”
The Cruz del Tercer Milenio is Spanish for “Third Millennium Cross”. This 93-meter-high Monumental Cross is made of concrete. It includes a museum, temple, bell tower, park and stations of the cross. The cross is located a top a hill overlooking the two bays and sits 197 meters above sea level. Construction began in 1999 and it was completed in 2001. Notably, this is considered the tallest monument in South America.
- Cruz del Tercer Mlenio is supported by three bases which represent the Holy Trinity.
- 10 columns represent the 10 commandments.
- 12 pillars represent the 12 apostles.
- It only took 10 months to build the main structure.
- The monument commemorates the 2000 birthday of Christ.
- The entire structure was built between two large rocks.
You enter the temple through ornate, massive, carved metal doors. Once inside you are immediately struck by the beautiful simplicity of the temple. Until, that is you look up to the alter where a vision of gold twinkles in the light and captures your attention. Seeing that from afar draws you into the temple.
The bell tower was constructed with a delicate metal alloy that allows it to reproduce in high fidelity, 9 musical notes of the scale. It is operated with an Italian mechanism which can perform over 400 melodies.
The stations of the cross:
You take an elevator to the arms of the cross where you have a 360-degree view of Coquimbo. The arrows show you where Sugar Shack is anchored.
PLAYA HERRADURA – Mirador
Playa Herradura has a few nice lookouts, or miradors. We took a walk up to one of them and were pleasantly surprised to find many beautiful sculptures. Coupled with the view, these skinny sculptures provided interesting stories and picturesque photos.
The Mohammed VI Center for the Dialogue of Civilizations, better known as the Mosque , is a cultural center. The minaret of this mosque is a scaled replica of the Koutoubia Mosque in Marrakech , Morocco .
Its construction began in 2004 with the help of artisans and builders from Morrocco. The mosque was inaugurated on March 14, 2007. If you would like to read more on the Mosque, here is a really interesting blog that goes into detail on the history of the Mosque.
Unfortunately, the Mosque was closed for renovations so we could not go inside. With this in mind, we were only able to walk around the outside.
Also known as Fuerte Lambert, this former 19th century fort offers picturesque views. Originally built in 1865 to guard the entrance during the war with Spain. The unique, brick fort was named after Carlos Lambert who reconstructed it in 1879 to protect his ports against possible attacks from the Peruvian Navy during the Pacific War.
Fort Lambert no longer has an operational role militarily, but it is a popular tourist destination because of the views it provides across the Bay of Coquimbo. There is not much to see at this forte except a few good photo ops. With this in mind, this fort might have been a good replica of the original fort prior to the renovations. Now it sort of looks fake and too modern.
Notice the pirate tourist ship in the background – talk about nice timing. It is important to realize that they threw away the key.
PIRATE SHIPS – AHOY!
At the wharf, they have several pirate ships outfitted with all the trimmings including live pirates. They will sheppard you around the bay in search of gold and other valuable treasures. Evidently, they are “real” pirates as you can see them in the above photos while we were at the Forte de Coquimbo.
Large fish market brimming with fisherman selling their daily catch. Breathing through your mouth is a must as the fish smells accost your senses like running into a brick wall. Despite the smell we forged ahead to try to identify the huge variety of fish.
The fish come in off the boats and are loaded into trays. Next, they are cleaned and hauled into the fish market to sell. In some cases, they are cleaned inside the market while others are sold right off the dock. An unidentified delicacy can be seen at the bottom left photo. It looked like a hard piece of coral. Seeing that it is a crustacean we shied away. They gently cut off the tip and then scoop out this red gloppy thing to get to the meat. No, we did not try it.
There were several forgotten boats on the coast…always makes you wonder what the heck happened. From now on this will be known as the bird perch…
Fresh fruit and veggie market