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Santiago, Chile

Santiago (full form Santiago de Chile) is the capital of Chile. It is situated in the central valley in the middle of Chile.

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Santiago was founded by Pedro de Valdivia on February 12, 1541 with the name Santiago de Nueva Extremadura. The founding ceremony was held on what is now known as Cerro Santa Lucia[?]. Valdivia chose the location of Santiago because of its climate and the ease with which it could be defended. This was because the river Mapocho[?] split in two, and rejoined further downstream, forming an island. With the help of the indigenous population the first buildings where erected.


The climate in Santiago is mediterranean. With hot dry summers (November to April) with temperatures reaching to 35 Celsius on some days. The Winters (July to October) are more humid with maximum temperatures of 15 being the norm, and minimums of a few degrees above freezing.


Currently there live about 5.5 million people in the Santiago Metropolitan area. This represents about one third of the total Population of Chile.


Santiago has the largest concentration of cultural institutions in the country.



There are two symphonic orchestras:

  • Orquesta Filarmonica de Santiago, which performs in the Teatro Municipal
  • Orquesta Sinfonica de Chile, dependent of the Universidad de Chile[?], performs in its theater.


Museums include:

  • Museo de Arte Precolombino
  • Museo Historico Nacional
  • Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes
  • Museo de Arte Contemporáneo


  • Santiago has an extensive, if chaotic, privately-run bus system.
  • There are three metro lines that function excellently though their coverage is somewhat limited at the moment. The Government is in various stages of constructing three additional metro lines
  • There are train connections from Santiago to the southern part of the country.
  • Private inter-urban bus companies provide excellent and cheap transportation from Santiago to virtually any part of the country.
  • Santiago's airport is Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport

Places to visit

(more details anyone?)


Because of the air-circulation patterns (or lack thereof) in the central valley in the winter months there is a lot of smog pollution in Santiago in those months. The Government has been trying to do something to reduce the problem by giving incentives to heavy industry to move out of the central valley but until now it has not had any real effects.

Another major problem has been the contamination of the river Mapocho by industrial and Household waste which was dumped unfiltered into the river. The government has accepted a new law that obligates industry and the governments of the comunas[?] to process all there waste by 2006. There are various big waste production plants being constructed because of this.

The sound levels in the main city streets can be quite high. This is mostly due to very noisy city buses. These buses are also a major contributor to the winter smog.

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