Santiago as the hearth of the Chilean culture

Santiago as the hearth of the Chilean culture

Santiago de Chile, its comunas and the Chilean cultural, economic and educational identity

After Francisco Pizarro conquered Cuzco in Perù, he dispatched Pedro de Valdivia to the south southwards who  founded “Santiago de la Nueva Extremadura” between the Río Mapocho and Santa Lucía hill. 

O’Higgins in the Battle of Chacabuco (1817)

After independence in 1818 the expansion has followed the classical Spanish pattern common to various colonial cities with a central plaza de armas surrounded by a town hall (cabildo), a Catholic church or cathedral, and mansions of notable families and state erected public buildings such as the Teatro Municipal.

Chile Santiago

The historic centre has a suggestive atmosphere because of its luxuriant trees and the constant wave of Santiaguinos flowing through narrow streets. In comparison to other megalopolis in the continent (Buenos Aires, for instance), homelessness is minimal and it can be considered safe in western standards.

Today there only few examples of colonial architecture are left because most of the city has been reshaped by a succession of earthquakes and the 1973 historical turmoil; indeed, it has been mostly rebuilt between the mid 1960s and the late 1970s.

Santiago is divided into 32 autonomous comunas, spacing from the modern and architectonically amazing suburbs Las Condes, Vitacura, Providencia, and La Reina to the bohemian Brazil and Italia.

Barrio Italia

Barrio Italia offers a Santiago city experience at a slower pace. It is a treasure trove of hidden courtyard cafes, kitsch restaurants and independent shops. A haven for food and design lovers alike, the city’s most stylish neighbourhood offers a tranquil spot to pass an afternoon, or two.

Barrio Brasil

In the early 1990s, a number of rock bands and eccentric artists moved into vacant buildings in the vicinity of Avenida Brasil, west of central Santiago, in search of creative inspiration and neighbors with high tolerance to noise and nuisance.

Concha y Toro

The mansions encircling Concha y Toro once belonged to a selection of upper-class families, including the Concha y Toro family (now famous for their wineries).

Chile Santiago
Chile Santiago

Calles París y Londres

Santiago’s Little Europe has been attribute to architects as Alberto Cruz #Montt, Jorge Elton Alamos, and Sergio #Larraín. The string of small mansion houses lining the cobbled streets of Calles París y Londres sprang up in the mid-1920s on vegetable patches and gardens once belonging to the convent adjoining Iglesia San Francisco. The three- and four-story town houses are all unique; some have brick facades, while others are done in Palladian style.

Chile Santiago
Chile Santiago

The Chilean cultural, economic and educational identity

Santiago de Chile well represent the Chilean cultural, economic and educational identity characterized by homogeneity and virtually not existent regional conflict. Indeed, The country’s geographical isolation represents a major symbol of national identification and it has been generally considered a key factor in the creation of a homogeneous society. Notwithstanding, the nation enjoys exceptional cultural variety ranging from the northern provinces near Bolivia (Aymará Indians from the Andean culture), the southern region (Mapuche Indians), the Chiloé Island (chilote), and the remote Eastern Island (Polynesian cultural traditions). Interestingly, recognizable regional accents are absent despite the country’s extreme geographic length.

After the War of the Pacific (1879–1883) the nation annexed vast territories in the north and progressed south against the Araucanian Indians to build a unified national territory within its geographical borders. As a result, the nation did not experience civil wars and social upheaval peculiar of the continent, enjoying prosperity and stable constitutional governments. However, the Chilean army played a central role in the process of nation building; indeed, subsequently to the 1973 #military takeover, officers entered in key central and regional positions and, after the democratic restoration in 1990, still have preserved considerable influence.

The armed forces have firmly defended Pinochet and just recently have accepted some responsibility in the human rights abuses committed during his regime.

The Museum of Memory and Human Rights

The Museum of Memory and Human Rights opened in 2010 to celebrate the 200 years of Chile’s independence, it commemorates the victims of human rights violations during the 17 year dictatorship commencing in 1973. The museum is free and offers much information about Pinochet and his government. Below you can hear the declarations made that day by radio broadcasts.

Declaration of Carabineros
President Allende Discourse
Message of Patriotas

Chile Santiago

However, it is still considered imprudent to talk about the authoritarian past, as Chileans are quite divided on the subject.

Ethnic differences

Ethnic differences in Chile are not expressed in terms of skin color because #Afro-Americans are almost nonexistent and #Mapuche Indians have a relatively light skin. Rather, ethnic differences in Chile take the form of facial appearances, hair and eye color, body length, and family names. While color does not constitute the main source of social discrimination in Chile, class does. In contrast to many other Latin American countries, most Chileans constantly think and act in terms of traditional class divisions (largely expressed as lower, middle, and upper). Class differences are first of all expressed in the strong spatial segregation existing in large Chilean cities, in primary and secondary schools, and in speech. However, today most  the society experience some clash of traditional values as family against an increasing western style job centered life.


The hilly port city of Valparaiso is a UNESCO site and offers an atmospheric palette of colors and flavors. Relax is allowed close to the Pacific ocean at one of the beautiful nearby beaches, such as Viña del Mar or Reñaca.

Chile Valparaiso
Chile Valparaiso
Diques de Valparaiso (1884)

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