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La Serena

La Serena
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About Location

La Serena is a city and commune in northern Chile,capital of both the Elqui Province and the Coquimbo Region. Founded in 1544,it is the country's second oldest city after the national capital,Santiago,located 471 km (293 mi) to the south.It is one of the fastest-growing areas of Chile,witnessing a population increase of 32.6% between 1992 and 2002.

The city is an important tourist destination,especially during the summer,where people go to visit the beaches.It is in the headquarters of the University of La Serena and also is home to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of La Serena,one of five Catholic Archdiocese of Chile.The sector is currently located where the city was inhabited by the pre-Hispanic village called Viluma or Vilumanque (Mapudungun Snakes and condors).

During the 17th century, the city suffered continuous attacks from pirates, including Francis Drake who opened the Pacific route to pirates in 1578. Bartholomew Sharp, who partly burned and looted in 1680, and Edward Davis, who set fire to the convent of Santo Domingo 1686, causing great fear among the population, forcing the defense of the city in 1700. In addition to attacks from pirates, the city experienced an almost total destruction resulting from the earthquake of July 8, 1730.During the Revolution of 1859, a rebellion against the conservative government, the city was taken by forces led by Pedro Leon Gallo. Gallo's forces were defeated at the Battle of Cerro Grande by an army from Santiago, which then occupied the city.

Currently, the city has its own architectural style (known as "neocolonial"),which is differentiated from other cities,preserving old buildings in colonial style,with many important National Monuments, mixing it with modern buildings but each one in turn follows the regulatory framework in the construction of these structures which should each have features to maintain the colonial style of the city. In the center of the city until 2008, is still not possible to identify buildings over 8 stories high for a municipal status,however towards the coastal area of the Avenida del Mar,one begins to see a great real estate boom that is distinguished by observing high-rise buildings,ranging from Serena north to the neighboring city of Coquimbo.

How to Reach

By Air

LAN flies three times daily from Santiago de Chile to La Serena at 10:50, 14:00 and 19:00.Flight duration is 1 hour and fully flexible ticket cost $168 US one way, $305 return advance non-flexible return tickets through the website may be much cheaper than the flexible one way price.

By Bus

Buses leave several times every hour from Santiago de Chile to La Serena.The trip takes 7 - 8 hours. Companies include Pullman Bus,TurBus and Flota Barrios.Available are regular buses,semi-cama and the first class salon-cama.Prices vary greatly.

Key places to visit
Elqui River, Cathedral of La Serena, Avenida Del Mar, La Serena Song Festival, Liceo Gregorio Cordovez


Places to Visit

Elqui River

The Elqui River starts in the west Andes,flowing into the Pacific Ocean,crossing the Chilean city of La Serena,is a wine and pisco producing area.Vicuna,its main town,was the home of Nobel Laureate poet Gabriela Mistral.Inca culture influenced the Diaguitas by improving their agricultural production, care of livestock, and employment of mining and domestic industries such as pottery and textiles.The Incas also provided bowls, jugs with handles on top in animal forms, and new decorative motifs such as triangles and checkerboard stripes.

Cathedral of La Serena

It is the biggest temple of the city,constructed in neoclassic style,measures 60 meters of extension per 20 meters of width,with 3 central bodies.Inside one finds the organ donated by the filántropa calm down Juana Ross de Edwards.The belfry dates back from the 20th century.

Avenida Del Mar

are one of the most crowded walks of La Serena, joining El Faro Monumental,in the south with an extension of 6 km and adjacent with Penuelas's beach (Coquimbo).However,the beaches of La Serena have very rough water and are not suitable for swimming.In comparison Coquimbo's beaches,such as The Horse-shoe have very calm water and clean sands.

La Serena Song Festival

is an annual music festival held in La Serena,Chile since 2004.Before its fifth edition (2008), the festival was cancelled by La Serena's mayor.has been acquiring national importance, due to the great quality of the invited artists. Also projects have been approved as a new international airport. Real estate development along the beach has created a tourist residential development from the Elqui river.

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