The Spanish conquistador Pedro de Valdivia, who reached the coast of Chile in the middle of the 16th century, founded the city which was named in the honour of Saint James (Sanctu Iacobu), the patron saint of pilgrims. It was decided to locate the city at the foot of the Andes, about 100 kilometers away from the Pacific coast at an elevation of around 540 meters above sea level.
The creation of the city was entrusted to the architect Pedro de Gamboa, who preferred the grid layout of the city. The grid plan of the city is a type of an urban plan in which streets run at right angles to each other, forming a grid.
Having survived military actions, earthquakes, constantly losing and gaining the heritage again, in the end of the 19th century the strong development of the city began: the reason for that was extreme growth of the mining industry, which also initiated the creation of numerous castles and a railroad. But further damage was inflicted by the 1973 Chilean coup d'état, when rebels were fighting against the supporters of Salvador Allende; in February 2010 a strong earthquake hit the city. But still, Santiago has remained the capital of Chile, its main economic and cultural center of the country.
The city of Santiago has preserved many historical landmarks. The Plaza de Armas is the main square located in center of the city: it is surrounded by palaces and temples, all built at the colonial period and representing baroque architecture. The Virgin Mary Statue, standing on the San Cristobal Hill which is accessible by a cable car, "guards" the city from above.
In addition to the historical heritage, Santiago is famous for its parks. The largest one is the Santiago Metropolitan Park, which covers around 780 hectares. The Park of the Kings was opened in honour of the 500th anniversary of the discovery of America; the Jardín Botánico can introduce more than 70 species of trees; the Araucano park, which was founded in the 17th century, is now the place for festivals, theatrical plays and many other events.
One more significant landmark of Santiago is the Santa Lucía Hill: it is the remnant of a volcano dated 15 million years old. And this is the place where Pedro de Valdivia founded the city in 1541.
The building of the fortress began in 1816. The whole was complex composed of fortified constructions, areas for accommodation of the garrison and a weapon storage. It also a cemetery. In 1872 the fortress was modified for peaceful purposes: good roads which allowed to visit it were created, fountains and other decorating elements appeared in the park.
One of the most interesting monuments of Santa Lucía Hill is the stone carved with a paragraph extracted from the text that Pedro de Valdivia sent to the Emperor Carlos V describing the features of the new conquered lands. And you can become better acquainted with this corner of the Earth with the help of the AirPano panoramas.
Photos by Stas Sedov
2 June 2016
Here are some recommendations from our regular reader Lilly Herbert for those, who plan to visit Santiago
Santiago: A Place To Find Peace
With the tight schedules constantly bothering us at work, a moment of quiet and peace is always welcome. That is why millions of working-class people from all over the world flock Latin America every holiday season to cool down and recharge. The problem, however, is that some people don't know where exactly to find peace in South America.
That being said, are you looking for places to relax and find peace when in South America? Well, you are in luck because Santiago, the capital city of Chile, has numerous chilling spots for you all year round. The key to finding these spots when you visit Santiago is to interact with the locals and doing what they do. And if you are struggling with anxiety or lack of productivity, book a vacation in Santiago and then to expedite the healing process, consult with a life coach, who can guide you through the steps of overcoming the issue.
This post tells you where you can relax and find peace in this South American city.
1. El Arrayán Nature Sanctuary
The flora and fauna, the calm, the sound of falling water, and the unique biodiversity in this sanctuary is what you need for a peaceful moment with nature. An afternoon in the estuary will help you disconnect from the city and its hustles, cool down, and reflect on whichever issues are bothering you. If you are in a group, bring some drinks or food- or even have a barbeque party- and enjoy a quiet getaway picnic together.
2. Parque o'Higgins
This incredible natural environment is located to the southern side of Santiago. You can opt to sit quietly and watch as people paddle boats in the park's lake and swim in the pool. If your budget allows, you can pay to swim as well.
There is also an arena where you can take part in varied indoor activities, all depending on your taste. When hunger knocks, grab a snack (ice cream, donuts, or a drink) at any of the many kiosks that operate within the park. The fun is guaranteed here. You will have such a good time, that once you are back home, you will want to order Santiago wall art canvas to relive the fun moments.
3. Colina Valley Hot Springs
Hot springs have unique healing powers that calm down stressed minds and cheer up troubled hearts. These hot springs in the Cajón del Maipo have these powers and more. It is sandwiched in the Andes, meaning that on top of getting its hot water from the San José volcano, its environment is serene and cozy enough to blow your mind off. It is estimated that the hot springs' temperature can sometimes rise up to 55℃
Besides healing the soul, Colina Valley Hot Springs can also heal physical wounds and eliminate rheumatic pains.
4. Parque Araucano
Another park for nature lovers! There are comfortable benches in and around the park where people go to slow life down and relax a bit. It is free to enter even for tourists, so the only budget that you need to do this is probably a few dollars for some snacks. You can also choose to sit on the grass and meditate quietly.
5. Café del Museo
The decorations in this café will catch your attention from a distance. Students and working citizens come here every day to enjoy the peace that this café's beautifully painted walls bring. There are many paintings on display in and around this café; you can buy one if you want. The café is located at the heart of Mulate de Gil de Castro square.
While here, you cannot miss the tasty sandwiches and coffee that waiters serve. There is a variety of salads as well for you to try. This is a perfect place for a lover of art or a foodie to spend an afternoon.
6. Parque Forestal
Adjacent to Bellavista district and Mapocho River, this narrow but quite long park is the best place to relax when touring or staying in the outskirts of Santiago. The park is home to the nationally-famous ice cream parlor, Emporio La Rosa. The ice flavors here are irresistibly delicious. Just enjoy nature as you sip your ice cream.
7. Dance to a live cumbia band at La Peña del Nano Parra
Also near Bellavista, this is the place to be for the lovers of live Chilean music. Renowned bands play cool jams all evening and sometimes through the night. Don't forget to bring your dancing shoes!
How would you love a home decoration art canvas from Santiago? If you wish to bring part of Chile's beauty to your living room, make a point of ordering a Santiago-inspired art canvas online.