Travel with Me to Santiago

The capital of Chile, Santiago is also the centre of its largest cities combined. It is located in the country’s central valley, at an elevation of 1,706.04 feet above mean sea level.

Santiago has been the capital city since 1541. The city has a downtown conglomeration of neoclassical architecture of the 19th century and winding side-streets.  Other styles include art deco, neo-gothic, and many more.  Santiago’s cityscape is formed by stand-alone hills and the Mapocho River, lined by parks like the Parque Forestal. Mountains of the Andes chain can be viewed from various points in the city. These mountains are responsible for a significant smog problem, especially during winter time. The vineyards surround the city’s outskirts.

A  Modern Metropolis

Santiago’s stable economy over the past years has transformed it into a modern metropolis. The city now houses growing theaters, restaurant scenes, dozens of shopping centres, and extensive suburban development. The skyline is rising, with the tallest building in Latin America, the Gran Torre. There are several major universities and modern transportation and infrastructure facilities, including a toll-based, urban freeway system and the Metro de Santiago.

The Plaza de Armas or Central Square which lies along the Alameda about five blocks south of the river is home to the Cathedral of Santiago.  Other buildings surrounding the Plaza de Armas are the Central Post Office Building, which was completed in 1882, and the Palacio de la Real Audiencia de Santiago, constructed within 1804 and 1807. It houses the Chilean National History Museum, with 12,000 items on exhibit. On the southeast junction of the square is the Commercial Edwards building, which was established in 1893.

The Casa Colorada built in 1769, houses the Museum of Santiago.  Nearby is the Municipal Theatre of Santiago, constructed in 1857 by the French architect Brunet of Edward Baines that was damaged by an earthquake in 1906. The Subercaseaux Mansion and the National Library, one of the largest libraries of South America, are both located within the same vicinity. Other structures include the former National Congress Building, the Royal Customs Palace, and the Justice Palace situated near each other.

The Costanera Center, finished in 2009 includes shopping, entertainment, and housing venues. The project, with a total area of 600,000 square meters, includes the tallest building in South America, the 300-meter high Gran Torre Santiago.

Funky cafes and dance clubs are offered in the metropolis.  Forest Park art collections are from pre-Columbian to contemporary.  Architecture dates back to the 16th-century with the San Francisco Church.  Today’s mirrored office towers are also booming.  Shopping with locals at Mall Panora¡mico and remembering hearty Chilean meals are some of the fun activities at Santiago.

Hot Chilean Cuisine

Chilean cuisine comes from the fusion of traditional Spanish cuisine, Chilean native culture and local ingredients, with European influences particularly from Germany, France, and Italy.

Recipes from the central regions of Chile include Sopa de Mariscos: A soup of mixed seafood; .Locos con Mayonesa (“Locos with mayonnaise”), usually served with lettuce and potato salad; Palta Reina: avocado stuffed with chicken salad, prawns, tuna,  and other fillings;Tomates Rellenos: stuffed tomatoes, filled with sweet corn, mayonnaise, and other ingredients.The Pastel de choclo: a layered pie,in a deep dish or a clay paila with chopped beef.

Recipes from southern Chile comprise the Merkén: a traditional Mapuche condiment, out of dried and smoked red chillis ground to a fine powder. It is used as seasoning for all kinds of dishes. Others are the Araucana, Kollongka, or Mapuche Chicken which are famous for their light blue green eggs.  Caldillo de Almejas: Clam soup.  Chupe de Locos: a rich stew from the loco or Chilean abalone. There are many other recipes available in many restaurants.

Photo by oenvoyage on Flickr

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