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Valparaiso

Country
Chile
State
Valparaiso
City
Valparaiso
Type of Location
Multiple
About Location

Valparaiso is a city and commune of Chile,center of its third largest conurbation (Greater Valparaiso) and one of the country's most important seaports and an increasing cultural center in the Southwest Pacific hemisphere.The city is the capital of the Valparaiso Province and the Valparaiso Region. Although Santiago is Chile's official capital,the National Congress of Chile was established in Valparaiso in 1990.

Valparaiso 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.Always a magnet for European immigrants,Valparaiso mushroomed during its golden age,when the city was known by international sailors as Little San Francisco and The Jewel of the Pacific.

Though nearby San Antonio has taken the reins as the country’s most commercially important seaport (greater tonnage moved), the City of Valparaiso remains a vibrant center of Chilean culture, and the Greater Valparaiso metropolitan area (which includes Valparaiso, Vina del Mar, Quilpue and Villa Alemana) has the third largest concentration of population in the country after Greater Santiago and Greater Concepcion.



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How to Reach

By Air

Valparaiso does not have its own airport.The closest airport with commercial service is Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport (SCL) in Santiago,some 1.5 hours away,which offers extensive domestic and international service.To to get to Valparaiso from Santiago's airport, you will catch a bus heading to Pajaritos outside of the airport terminal.This will drop you off at the North side of "Pajaritos" a bus/subway station on the outskirts of Santiago, cross to the South side of the Subway station to get to the Bus Platform.From here, buses leave frequently for Valparaiso and other destinations; you may also take the subway into downtown Santiago. It is generally not necessary to have a bus ticket before arriving at Pajaritos.

By Train

A new regional Metro system,opened to the public on 24 November 2005,updated parts of the railroad that joined Santiago to Valparaíso and cities in between (originally built in 1863) and connects Valparaiso with Vina del Mar and other cities.The metro constitutes the so-called “fourth stage” (“Cuarta Etapa” in Spanish) of Metropolitan improvements.The metro railway extends along most of Gran Valparaiso and is the second metro system in operation in Chile (after Santiago’s), and includes an underground section that crosses Vina del Mar’s downtown.

By Bus

Buses from a wide variety of destinations within Chile have scheduled service to Valparaiso, in addition to service to the Argentine city of Mendoza.The bus terminal is located close to the National Congress building.

By Cruise

Some cruise ships dock in Valparaiso,mostly as part of a long South American itinerary.Also possible is a Freighter Cruise from Mexico,taking two weeks and making several stops along the way.

Key places to visit
Iglesia de la Matriz, Sotomayor Square, Naval and Maritime Museum, Cerro Cordillera, La Matriz Church, Ascensores, La Sebastiana, Ex Carcel


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Places to Visit

Iglesia de la Matriz

Is a church in the city of Valparaiso,Chile.Located in the heart of the port district of the city,surrounded by cobblestone streets and houses it has a historical importance in the city and was declared a National Monument of Chile in 1971.The church of a typical basilical style,but is built in a way to represent three ships in a rectangular fashion,separated by two waters.The main facade stands out with its classic composition.Eight columns surround the body of the church and the interior walls are decorated with zenithal paintings.There are two main influences which make up the interior of the church including this classicist style of the tower,and the 18th century Creole style represented by its great heavy walls of adobe brick and the ceiling covered with clay roofing tiles.

Sotomayor Square

Is the naval heart of the city,dominated by the impressive blue-colored palatial Edificio de la Comandancia Naval (Naval Command Building).In the middle of the square lies the Monumento a los Heroes de Iquique,a subterranean mausoleum paying tribute to Chile's naval martyrs.The Aduana Nacional (Customs House) and Estación Puerto, the terminal for Merval commuter trains, are also nearby.Muelle Prat, the pier at the foot of Plaza Sotomayor,is a lively place on weekends.It has a helpful tourist kiosk and a tacky handicrafts market, the Feria de Artesanía. Small boats offer tours of the harbor (for a cost).Don't photograph any of the numerous Chilean naval vessels at anchor, or you may find yourself in military custody.

Naval and Maritime Museum

This museum is dedicated to military naval exploits and battles,and puts a large focus on the Chilean victory against Peru and Bolivia in the War of the Pacific.

Right Time to Visit

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Temperature

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