Saturday, June 5, 2010

CHILE - Valparaiso

CHILE stamp


Valparaíso (also called "Valpo" locally) is a city in the center of Chile 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 5th Region. Although Santiago is Chile's official capital, the Parliament House "El Congreso" was established here, in the Valparaiso city.

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

Examples of Valparaíso’s former glory include Latin America’s oldest stock exchange, the continent’s first volunteer fire department, Chile’s first public library, and the oldest Spanish language newspaper in continuous publication in the world. The opening of the Panama Canal and reduction in ship traffic dealt a staggering blow to Valparaíso, though the city has staged an impressive renaissance in recent years.

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

UNESCO World Heritage Site :
Historic Quarter of the Seaport City of Valparaíso

Date of inscription : 2003

The colonial city of Valparaíso presents an excellent example of late 19th-century urban and architectural development in Latin America. In its natural amphitheatre-like setting, the city is characterized by a vernacular urban fabric adapted to the hillsides that are dotted with a great variety of church spires. It contrasts with the geometrical layout utilized in the plain. The city has well preserved its interesting early industrial infrastructures, such as the numerous ‘elevators’ on the steep hillsides.


Postcard sent by Gabi, as "gabrielaz"
Private swap - Reference CL001

Valparaiso : The Espiritu Santo (Holy Spirit) hill lift rises up
Bellavista Hill, where the people can stroll around
Valparaiso's open air museum

Muchas gracias

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