Santiago is the largest city in Chile and has been the capital of the country since colonial times. Founded in 1541 by the Spanish conquistador, Pedro de Valdivia, the city was named after St. James, the patron saint of Spain. He commissioned Pedro de Gamboa to design the city who followed a grid layout that emanated from the Plaza de Armas.
As the cultural and political centre of Chile, Santiago has played a significant role throughout the history of the nation. As a result, the city is bestowed with majestic buildings, heritage monuments, towering cathedrals, expansive plazas and massive parks that thrive right in the heart of the city.
Santiago de Chile, the Trendsetter
The city has been a trend-setter in South America and has garnered its fair share of credits to its name. The city’s extensive network of public transportation makes it easy to get around. In fact, Santiago Metro is the continent’s largest such system. Fantasilandia, an amusement park, launched the first rollercoaster in the continent with a full loop.
Santiago enjoys cool Mediterranean climate all through the year. In effect, the fertile valleys around the city are one of the major wine producing areas in the nation. Renowned wine makers Vina Concha y Toro, on the outskirts of the city is the largest producer of wines in Latin America and is the first winery to trade on the New York Stock Exchange. The city also boasts Southern Hemisphere’s largest ski zone at the foot of the Andes Mountains, the Tres Valles, which is merely an hour’s drive from the city centre.
Situated just over 100 kms. from Santiago, Valparaiso is ideal for a quick day trip or a relaxed weekend. Take a walk through the residential hillsides to enjoy the distinctive architectural beauty of the city. Be prepared to be surprised by the bright colours that greet you on every road.
Santiago offers visitors a fantastic range of remarkable attractions which explains why the city ranks among the most popular destinations in all of the Americas.