Originally known as Estadio Nacional, Estadio Nacional Julio Martínez Prádanos is the national stadium of Chile located in the capital city of Santiago. With an official seating capacity of 48,665, this grass surfaced stadium is the largest stadium in Chile.
The stadium was built on former farmland and opened to the public on December 3rd, 1938. The first sporting event in the new stadium took place on the same day and was a friendly match between the Chilean club Colo-Colo and Brazilian club São Cristóvão. The Colo-Colo won with the match score of 6-3.
The stadium was expanded to host the 1962 FIFA World Cup.
It was officially renamed as Estadio Nacional Julio Martínez Prádanos in July 2008, in order to honor a deceased sports journalist.
It has hosted all the matches of the South American Football Championships in the years 1941, 1945 and 1955 as well as several matches of the 1991 and 2015 Copa América Football.
The highest attendance recorded for a match held at Estadio Nacional to date is 85,268. The record attendance was for a match of the top tier league of the Chilean football league system - Primera Division. The match was played on December 29th, 1962, between Santiago based football clubs Universidad de Chile and Universidad Catolica.
The stadium has also been used since 1995 as the final leg of the charity event, Telethon too. During this annual event, the stadium holds up to 100,000 people with the Jumbotron showing the required amount to reach the charity goal.
For nearly two months after the September 1973 military coup that overthrew Chile’s Marxist president, the stadium served as a makeshift prison camp. Over 40,000 people were detained in the compound during the regime.
At this unfortunate time, the field and gallery of the stadium were used to hold men, while the swimming pool, changing rooms and associated buildings were used to detain women.
The Red Cross estimated that there were even around 300 foreigners among the 7,000 prisoners occupied in the stadium at this one point.
Another notable event that occured in the stadium was the earthquake on February 27th of 2010. Although the stadium suffered minor damage from the earthquake, it partially opened to host the match between C.F. Universidad de Chile and C.D. Guadalajara for Copa Libertadores.
After the renovations the stadium was officially re-inaugurated on September 12th of 2010, during the Chile's bicentennial festivities.