introduction to Valparaiso.
it became the most important harbor in the South Hemisphere, Valparaiso
reached the top of its development in the nineteenth century. This
city became an attractive destination for European and American
immigrants, due to its natural and architectonical beauty, and the
efforts of its inhabitants. Nevertheless, when the Panama Canal
was inaugurated, Valparaiso was no longer a obligatory path for
sailors around the world. Therefore, the flow of ships and its commercial
activity, which gave Valparaiso its urban magnificence, diminished.
to its particular founding, Valparaiso is considered a unique city,
from an urban point of view: this city did not undergo the violent
conquest which Chile suffered at that time, since the immigration
took place gradually and with no initial project. In that sense,
the sailors were the ones who started to discover the potential
of this rough diamond, and it was their endeavor which
drew the first lines of its urban silhouette. Hence, the charm of
its geography set the grounds of The Pearl of the Pacific
as many travelers called it.
the idiosyncrasy of its inhabitants is that of an unconquered town,
of a city not planned from its very beginnings. Valparaiso is creative
and free as the color of its hills. With this, the city started
to take shape as sailors, travelers and merchants construed the
contours of its hills; eventually, they settled and created a real
Pandoras box called Valparaiso. Thus, European and American
people contributed to the social and economic development of the
city (which became even more financially active than Santiago during
the twentieth century) with their adventurous spirit and feeling
charmed by a land practically untouched by men. Thus, in the twentieth
century, the main technological advances- like the telegraph, the
railway and the electricity- were developed in Valparaiso first,
before any other Chilean city.
to go through the hills of Valparaiso is like going back in time,
and (with some imagination) feeling what its first settlers and
adventurers felt. They were the ones that put themselves out for
this city in a relentless discovery of a beauty offered by a unique
geography. Such charm goes hand-by-hand with the particular form
of its streets, drawn in an ever-flowing invention of monuments,
buildings and houses. They are all part of a fickle urban geography
which invites the travelers to dive into its history.