Santiago, Chile is easily one of the most arresting cities in South America. A visitor will immediately be struck by the variety of the buildings, stretching from neoclassical constructions in the old town centre to modern developments (including the tallest South American skyscraper), and by the incredible Andes mountains which surround the greater Santiago area, forming the flat valley which hosts the capital. Modernity and development mixing with the old world runs throughout Santiago, making it a wondrous stop for anyone wishing to grasp the heart of Chile and South America.
As the capital of Chile, Santiago hosts both the Executive and Judicial branches of government (not, however, the legislature). La Moneda Palace houses the President and some of his cabinet, and will give guided tours if reserved in advance. Part of the Old City, it is a striking example of the sort of Neoclassical architecture one can experience in Santiago. Many other buildings dating back to the 18th Century can be found and explored a well.
Besides architecture, Santiago is also an inspiring destination for culture lovers. With growing prosperity in recent years, Santiago has enjoyed an emergence of performing arts, music and museums. Performing arts can be experienced in outdoor theaters, impressive modern theaters, or neoclassical buildings. One can find dance, opera, or drama being performed – usually in Spanish, but occasionally in English.
The museums in Santiago are diverse in subjects: you can find modern art museums, culture museums, and old Spanish-Catholic churches converted to museums. Most prominent, though, are the myriad of museums dedicated to pre-Colonial Chile and South America. These museums include artifacts from Mayan and Inca empires, and can be extremely educational.
If you’d rather have a night out on the town, Santiago will still deliver. South-American Jazz is extraordinarily popular there, so finding a club or venue with impressive music isn’t difficult. Besides listening to music, a visitor can participate by going to one of many bars and clubs designed for dancing crowds. There may be no better way to blend in with the culture of Santiago’s residents!
Santiago is a marvelous city which is sure to please anyone who goes there. Whether you want to learn about ancient cultures, enjoy architecture old and new, or just have a good time, Chile’s capital is sure to deliver.
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