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article imagePhoto Essay: The 'Isidora Goyenechea Botanical Gardens’ of Lota Special

By Igor I. Solar     Dec 1, 2013 in Travel
Lota - Considered as one of the most outstanding examples of French and British landscape developments in Chile, the Botanical Park of Lota was conceived by the mining magnate Luis Cousiño as a gift of love to his wife Isidora Goyenechea.
The creation of the gardens, also known as "Isidora Goyenechea Park" originated in 1852 with the beginning of the Lota coal mining enterprise of the wealthy Cousiño family, also owners of silver mining interests in northern Chile, and major vineyards in the central region.
The park covers an area of 14 hectares on a peninsula overlooking the sea. It was designed between 1862 and 1873 by British landscape artist Mr. Bartlet, combining features of a traditional French formal garden and aspects of the more naturalistic English garden. The gardens and plant selection were in charge of Irish technician William O'Reilly. On the death of Luis Cousiño in 1873, and following the recommendations of O'Reilly, Isidora took over the development of the gardens. She introduced foreign species which she skilfully combined with native varieties.
Two cast iron lions flank the entrance to the beautiful  Isidora Goyenechea Botanical Gardens .
Two cast iron lions flank the entrance to the beautiful "Isidora Goyenechea Botanical Gardens".
A beautiful rectangular formal fountain is located not far from the entrance in the  Isidora Goyenec...
A beautiful rectangular formal fountain is located not far from the entrance in the "Isidora Goyenechea Botanical Garden"
As a homage to the indigenous people  former owners of the land where the park is located  a statue ...
As a homage to the indigenous people, former owners of the land where the park is located, a statue dedicated to Mapuche chief Caupolicán occupies a prominent spot in the park.
The park contains many cast iron and ceramic sculptures brought from Europe  North America  Australi...
The park contains many cast iron and ceramic sculptures brought from Europe, North America, Australia and Africa, representing figures of music, poetry, classical sculpture and architecture.
The park contains many cast iron and ceramic sculptures brought from Europe  North America  Australi...
The park contains many cast iron and ceramic sculptures brought from Europe, North America, Australia and Africa, representing figures of music, poetry, classical sculpture and architecture.
The visitor can admire the beauty of many cast iron and ceramic sculptures along the winding trails ...
The visitor can admire the beauty of many cast iron and ceramic sculptures along the winding trails of the botanical park.
Isidora also installed in the park numerous ornamental elements such as fountains, ponds, a beautiful bridge, pergolas, a grotto, and plenty of suggestive corner spots. Along winding trails in the woods and on the gentle slopes of the surrounding hills, she installed beautiful planters, bird houses, benches and cast iron and ceramic sculptures brought from Europe, North America, Australia and Africa, representing figures of music, poetry, classical sculpture and architecture.
The park contains many cast iron and ceramic sculptures brought from Europe  North America  Australi...
The park contains many cast iron and ceramic sculptures brought from Europe, North America, Australia and Africa, representing figures of music, poetry, classical sculpture and architecture.
A replica of  Fauno playing the Flute  adorns a path in the park.
A replica of "Fauno playing the Flute" adorns a path in the park.
Isidora Goyenechea installed several birdhouses in the park.
Isidora Goyenechea installed several birdhouses in the park.
In a shady spot on a hillside of the park is the tomb of Carlos Cousiño  son of Luis and Isidora  w...
In a shady spot on a hillside of the park is the tomb of Carlos Cousiño, son of Luis and Isidora, who completed the construction of the park after the death of his parents.
Very influenced by O'Reilly’s botanical wisdom and experience, Isidora placed next to each plant small signs showing its scientific name and its origin. She also ordered the construction of a greenhouse for growing and maintaining begonias, ferns and tropical orchids.
Following the advice of Irish gardener William O Reilly  Isidora Goyenechea ordered the construction...
Following the advice of Irish gardener William O'Reilly, Isidora Goyenechea ordered the construction of a beautiful conservatory for growing and maintaining begonias, ferns and tropical orchids.
Water fountain at the  Isidora Goyenechea Botanical Garden  in Lota  Chile.
Water fountain at the "Isidora Goyenechea Botanical Garden" in Lota, Chile.
The gardens combine features of a traditional French formal garden and aspects of the more naturalis...
The gardens combine features of a traditional French formal garden and aspects of the more naturalistic English garden.
Image of the French style palace of the Cousiño family in the Isidora Goyenechea Botanical Park. Th...
Image of the French style palace of the Cousiño family in the Isidora Goyenechea Botanical Park. The palace was severely damaged by earthquakes and was demolished in 1963.
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In 1885, over the central and highest location of the park, Isidora began building a beautiful palace whose plans she commissioned to European architects. The elegant palace was never inhabited by the Cousiño family. For a while it served as office for the coal mining company. The structure was badly damaged in the earthquake of 1939. It was repaired, but ended up being virtually destroyed by another earthquake in 1960. The palace was demolished in 1963 and in its place there is now a rose garden.
Today, 150 years after its founding, the "Isidora Goyenechea Botanical Park" of Lota still retains its unique mark of elegance and distinction. It is one of those fascinating places, revealing clear evidence of the wealth and vision of a bygone era, full of romance, nostalgia and sophistication.
In 2009, the “Isidora Goyenechea Botanical Park” was declared a National Historic Landmark of Chile.
The  Isidora Bridge  was constructed in 1874 over a naturalistic pond in the park. The pond was dry ...
The "Isidora Bridge" was constructed in 1874 over a naturalistic pond in the park. The pond was dry when I last visited, but in previous visits I have found this spot one of the nicest locations in the park.
The Rose Garden occupies now the place where the Cousiño Palace was  originaly located. The palace ...
The Rose Garden occupies now the place where the Cousiño Palace was originaly located. The palace was destroyed by devastating earthquakes in 1939 and 1960.
Ladies known as “Isidoras”  wearing period costumes  guide visitors though the park describing t...
Ladies known as “Isidoras”, wearing period costumes, guide visitors though the park describing the history of the gardens’ most important features.
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