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The Metropolitan Region whose capital is Santiago, constitutes the main economic, administrative and geographical center of Chile. It is also the industrial, commercial, financial and cultural core.
Santiago is the capital of Chile, the area of highest urban concentration. With little more than five million inhabitants, it is one of the most modern cities in South America.
Endowed with modern buildings, modern freeways, an extensive and efficient network of underground railroad (Metro), as well as of centers urban and large green areas, Santiago is obliged step for those who want to know the heart of Chile.
Santiago Underground Presidential Palace Aerial view Italia square
This metropolis, called “Gran Santiago”, includes many complete municipalities. Most of Santiago is inside the province of the same name, with some outlying sectors in the provinces Maipo, Cordillera and Talagante.
Here are the Palacio de la Moneda, headquarters of the Executive Power, the Palacio de Tribunales, headquarters of the Supreme Court and of most of the Ministries. The National Congress, headquarters of the Legislative Power, was located in Santiago up to 1990, when it was transferred Valparaíso.
It is considered as the city with better quality of life of Latin America. In it are concentrated more than 40% of the domestic economic production and it is the headquarters of the great majority of national and international enterprises. Santiago's Exchange (Bolsa de Comercio de Santiago) is one of the most prestigious of the continent.
In the last years, the economic well-being and the financial security of Chile have allowed that Santiago has become an important business city disputing the title of Financial Capital of Latin America with other cities like Miami and Sao Paulo.
An important tourists attraction in Santiago is the San Cristóbal hill, located inside the city and topping about 830 m.a.s.l. (about 240 meters above the city). This hill is crowned by the Virgin's statue that is observable from great part of the city. You can reach the summit by cable cars that will give you a privileged view of the city and of the Andes Mountain range. In the San Cristóbal hillside it is also located the Metropolitan Zoo.
The central area is, without a doubt, the soul of the city. The colonial buildings, as Santiago's Cathedral, the Central Mail and Santiago's Municipality (located in the main square or Plaza de Armas) and the Casa Colorada (Red House), contrast with the neighborhoods of European characteristics of beginnings of the 20th century, as the Paris-London quarter and the Civic quarter, where you find the it is located the Palacio de la Moneda (the Presidential Palace) and the recently inaugurated Plaza de la Ciudadanía (Square of the Citizenship). The higher buildings with modern characteristic also dominate the city, what gives a mixture of styles, sometimes chaotic and sometimes ordinate.
It is also necessary to highlight the museums of Fine arts, Contemporary Art, Pre-Columbian Art, the National Historical Museum and the Archaeological Museum, and the National Library and National Historical Archives. Going a little away from the center, toward the west you find the quarters around the streets Dieciocho , Brasil, Concha y Toro, República and Yungay. These began to be urbanized from the middle of the 19th century with very different building styles, coexisting houses of traditional local design with houses and palaces of neoclassicist, neo-Gothic and art-deco styles. Due to their architectonic characteristics, some buildings have been declared National Monument, for example, the Dieciocho Street, the Concha y Toro quarter, the large houses of the Republic Avenue, the street Virginia Opazo and the passages Lucrecia Valdés, Adriana Cousiño and Hurtado Rodríguez.
The center’s west side has become the more important artistic and cultural focus of attraction lately, with the Matucana Avenue as axis connecting various institutions like the Cultural Center “Matucana 100”, the Museums ArteQuín, the Natural History Museum, the Technological Museum of Quinta Normal, the Railroad Museum, the Museum of Latin American Popular Art, the Museum of Solidarity “Salvador Allende”, the new City Public Library and the Archive of the 20th Century.
The most notable examples of colonial architecture are houses and rural hacienda buildings made of adobe which today are integrated in the city. Such is the case of the houses of Lo Matta, Lo Fontecilla, Las Condes and Los Dominicos (which include a church building).
Also, this city has great extension of parks, such as the O'Higgins Park, the Forestal Park (located next to the river Mapocho) and the Bicentennial Park, among others. The National Stadium, located in the Ñuñoa Municipality, was headquarters of the World Football Championship 1962 and it is actually a national monument.
Due to its proximity to the Andes, Santiago is favorably located for the practice of winter sports. The ski centers of Farellones, Valle Nevado, La Parva, El Colorado and Lagunillas are a few kilometers from the city.
 
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