Santiago De Chile
Santiago is the capital and biggest city in Chile. It is also called Santiago de Chile, to differentiate it from other cities by that name. The city is located roughly two thirds down the length of Chile. The city proper covers 58 sq km (22.4 sq mi) within an urban area of 641.4 sq km and a metropolitan area of 15,403 sq km.
Santiago has an urban population of 6.7 million people and a metropolitan population of 7.2 million. It is the cultural and financial center of Chile, and has grown to become one of the most modern in Latin America.
Santiago is located 520 m (1,706 ft) above sea level, in a valley called the Santiago Basin, with the Chilean Coastal Range to the west and the snow-capped Andes Mountain range within view to the east. The Andes near Chile rise to towering peaks, including the 6,570-m (21,555 ft) volcano, Tupungato.
Santiago enjoys a Mediterranean climate, though its seasons are the obverse of those in the northern hemisphere. The warmest month here is January, when temperatures rise to 29.7°C (85.5°F). Coldest month is July, when it drops to 1.7°C (35.1°F). Interestingly, July is also the wettest month with 86.6 mm (3.4 in) of precipitation. The city observes the Chile Time zone, which is four hours behind Coordinated Universal Time (UTC-4), and three hours behind during Daylight Saving Time of summer.
Santiago was founded by Spanish Conquistador Pedro de Valdivia on 12 February, 1541. It was originally named Santiago del Nuevo Extremo. The founding was greeted with hostility by the Inca ruler Manco Cápac II, and in less than a year, the new settlers found themselves under siege from the natives. They endured 20 months of isolation before reenforcement arrived from Spain to repel the Incas.
The city grew quickly. Some of its finest buildings were constructed in the 18th century, among them the Santiago Metropolitan Cathedral and the presidential palace, La Moneda. In 1810, the Chileans fought a war with Spain which led to it gaining its independence, finally attained on 12 February, 1818.
By the 20th century, Santiago was far and away the biggest city in Chile. To control the growth that has become somewhat haphazard, a development plan was put in place in 1958. This allowed the construction of new infrastructure such as the Avenida Américo Vespucio Ring Road, the Pudahuel Airport and the Santiago Metro, all of which were built in the 1960’s.
Despite its pleasant climate, Santiago is plagued by earthquakes. It suffered a terrible one in 1985. Although casualty figures were low, thousands were left homeless. Another massive earthquake struck on 27 February, 2010, killing 82 and causing massive destruction.
Visiting Santiago, Chile
The Santiago International Airport (SCL), also called the Pudahuel Airport or officially the Comodoro Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport, is the biggest airport in Chile. It is 15 km (9.3 mi) to the northwest of downtown Santiago. The airport is the 6th busiest in South America. It receives flights from all over the world.
Arriving at Santiago Airport, you have the option to take the Centro Puerto buses (Ch$1400 one way, Ch$2500 return), the TurBus shuttle bus (Ch$1700 one way, Ch$2900 return) or private taxis (Ch$15,000 one way) to reach the city. The buses make a stop at the Pajaritos Metro Station, which is a good idea to alight, as taking the metro is often faster to reach downtown than to face the congested highways.
The best mode of transport for sightseeing Santiago is the Santiago Metro (http://www.metrosantiago.cl/). There are now five colored lines to the system. If you are going to use the subway extensively, get the bip! smart card which allows you easy travel on the subway and buses.
An alternative for visitors is to take the red Turistik (http://www.turistik.cl/en/index.htm) double-decker bus which cover some of the main sights within downtown Santiago. The flat fare of Ch$18,000 allow you unlimited travel from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm, so you can visit all the sights, shopping areas and restaurants of the city.
Places of Interest in Santiago, Chile
- Igresia y Museo de San Francisco
- La Chascona
- La Moneda Palace
- Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino
- Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes
- Palacio Cousino
- Parque Bicentenario
- Parque Forestal
- Parque Metropolitano
- Plaza de Armas
- Santiago Centro