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South America Destination Guide

Valparaiso

Valparaiso

Valparaiso City (pop., 2002 est.: 262,000) and port, central Chile. It was founded by the Spanish in 1536; few of its colonial buildings have survived a succession of pirate raids, storms, fires, floods, and earthquakes. After Chilean independence in 1818, the city's port developed with the growth of the Chilean navy. In 1884 a treaty was signed there by which Bolivia ceded to Chile a coastal region containing principal nitrate deposits (see War of the PACIFIC). As Chile's principal seaport, it handles the bulk of the country's imports, and it is still a naval facility. It also produces chemicals and textiles. Chile's bicameral parliament, the National Congress, has been situated there since it was reestablished in 1990.

Valparaíso is an important Chilean seaport and Chile's Cultural Capital is located 120km northwest of Santiago in central chille.Valparaíso boasts a labyrinth of streets and cobblestone alleyways, embodyng a rich architectural and cultural legacy. Most major streets in the congested center on the lower level parallel the shoreline, which curves north toward Vina del Mar, but the rest is a maze of cobblestone streets and irregular intersections. The hills above and behind downtown, mostly residential, are connected to the lower level by steep footpaths and Valparafso's famous marvels of engineering, hillside ascensores, built from 1883 to 1916.Valparaíso played an important geopolitical role in the second half of the 19th century, when the city served as a major stopover for ships traveling between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans by crossing the Straits of Magellan.This city is an important educational center and having nine universities.More than 50 cruise ships are arriving here every summer.Valparaíso was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003.

Spanish explorers arrived in 1536, on the Santiaguillo, a ship sent by Diego de Almagro, considered the first European explorer of Chile. The golden age of Valparaíso's commerce ended after the opening of the Panama Canal, as most ships sought to avoid the Strait of Magellan, and the port's importance and use was reduced substantially.During Valparaíso's golden age (1848-1914) the city received large numbers of immigrants, primarily from Europe. The immigrant communities left a unique imprint on the city's architecture. Each community built its own churches and schools, while many also founded other noteworthy cultural and economic institutions. The largest immigrant communities came from England, Germany, and Italy, each developing their own hillside neighborhood, preserved today as National Historic Districts or "Zonas Típicas."

Valparaiso does not have an airport; nearby Viña del Mar does, but it no longer has commercial service. Thus, the closest functioning airport is Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport (SCL) in Santiago, which offers extensive domestic and international service. To arrive to the airport from Valparaiso, take a bus headed to Santiago. You will get off at a station called "Pajaritos," from where you will catch a Tur-Bus airport shuttle. Pajaritos is also a stop on the Santiago subway system.Valparaíso is the birthplace of many historically significant figures, including Augusto Pinochet, Salvador Allende, and Australia's third Prime Minister John Christian Watson among them. It has also been the residence of many artists like Pablo Neruda and Nicaraguan poet Rubén Darío.


Valparaiso Hotels

Robinson Crusoe Inn - Hector Calvo 389, Valparaiso
Lancaster - Chacabuco 2362, Valparaiso +56 (0) 32 217 391
Puerta de Alcala - Piramide 524 (Esq. Condell), Valparaiso, Chile
Valparaiso's Vineyard Inn - Hector Calvo 380, Valparaiso, Chile, 32
Robinson Crusoe Inn - Hector Calvo 389 Cerro Bellavista, Valparaiso, Chile, 32
Ultramar - Calle Perez 173, Cerro Carcel, Valparaiso, Chile
Garivalpo - 191 Cerro La Cruz, Valparaiso, 2370972 Phone: +56 (0) 56322 13402
B + B Patricia - 12 De Febrero 315, Valparaiso, Phone: +56 (0) 2 20290
Lancaster - Chacabuco 2362, Valparaiso Phone: +56 (0) 322 17391
The Inns At Valparaiso - Hector Calvo 389, Valparaiso, Chile, Valparaiso
Casa Aventura
Casa Familiar Carrasco
Casa Familiar Monica Venegas
Residencial Veracruz
Hostal Kolping
Brighton B&B

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