This park was the old cemetery and garden of the Dominican convent of Bonaval. It was restored as an urban park in a project directed by the Portuguese architect Alvaro Siza and the landscape designer Isabel Aguirre. Today, it is an example of perfect adaptation to the topography and to the existing elements, since it combines the undulating forms of the slope with the linearity of the geometrical layout of its paths and terraces, respecting the old garden, oak grove and cemetery.
Maybe this was the reason that led the sculptor Eduardo Chillida to set up his artwork called “Puerta de la Música” here. The 17-ton sculpture is designed to frame a cityscape, so you must stand behind it facing the city in order to discover a different view of the old town.
Nevertheless, any spot in this park offers a special view of the city: the roofs, the chimneys, the near-by convent of Santa Clara… and for those climbing to the top of the slope, one of the best and most beautiful views of Santiago.
Water murmurs throughout our walk: fountains, channels and small cisterns. Plants and trees provide shade or brighten up the grass with their colours. Fruit trees, such as cherry trees, apple trees, magnolias, chestnut and birch trees serve as a preamble for the lusher area, an oak grove refreshed by an old water spring.
It won’t be difficult to reach the old cemetery on foot, where burials used to be held after Plaza de la Quintana was no longer used for such purposes. Today, this cemetery has been secularised and is often used as a venue for religious music concerts and other cultural events, which make the most of its singular acoustics and night-time charm.