Chile is of interest to many visitors mainly because of its natural attractions, and the vast diversity of the country because of its size. However, Santiago is one of the more attractive capital cities of the continent. It is also one of the oldest, founded in 1541. It has been changing rapidly in the last years, and especially the centre is modern while retaining its characteristics, its older buildings, churches and squares. In some ways, it resembles a European city - also in the streets which were planned long before the invention of the car. But when you get to the outskirts, shanty towns typical of developing countries can be found.
Santiago is also the real centre of the country, housing government and the hub of the transportation system. Personally, I like cities when their centre is relatively small. In the case of Santiago, this is certainly true. The central area can easily be covered on foot. In this area, with Plaza de Armas as the centre of the centre, almost everything can be found in terms of shops, restaurants, hotels, city sights, and subway stations. If you are lucky and the smog does not completely cover the skies over Santiago, snowy peaks of the Andes can also be seen from the city centre. As in many places in Chile, both high mountain peaks as well as the seaside are at close hand here - it takes one hour to get to either one of them.
One place in Santiago which will bring back memories of one of the most violent and notorious coups of the 1970s is the Moneda Palace. It was here that Allende and his aides stayed in 1973, and it was this palace which the unfaithful troops bombed into ruins. It was also this palace where the same President Allende committed suicide rather than surrendering. Strikingly enough, a monument to the late president has been erected, looking onto the restored Moneda Palace.
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Santiago de Chile (). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Santiago de Chile.
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