Santiago also known as Santiago de Chile is the capital and largest city of Chile.
The city is situated in the center of the Santiago Basin, a large bowl-shaped valley consisting of broad and fertile lands surrounded by mountains.
As of August 2019, the population of Santiago is about 6,300,000 people.
Santiago covers a total area of 641 square kilometers (248 square miles).
Most of the city lies between 500 m (1,640 ft) and 650 m (2,133 ft) above sea level.
The city was founded as Santiago del Nuevo Extremo (“Santiago of the New Frontier”) in 1541 by the Spanish conquistador Pedro de Valdivia.
Santiago is named after the biblical figure St. James.
The area was inhabited by the Picunche Indians, who were placed under the rule of the Spanish settlers.
By the late 16th century the city was a settlement of just 200 houses. It wasn’t until the end of the 18th century that Santiago began to acquire the infrastructure of a proper city .
The city was only slightly damaged during the War of Independence (1810–18), since the decisive Battle of Maipú took place west of the city limits.
Santiago was named the republic’s capital in 1818, and thereafter the wealth of the nation flowed into the city.
The city has a downtown core of 19th-century neoclassical architecture and winding side-streets, dotted by art deco, neo-gothic, and other styles.
The Andes Mountains can be seen from most points in the city.
The city outskirts are surrounded by vineyards and Santiago is within an hour of both the mountains and the Pacific Ocean.
Cerro San Cristóbal is a hill in northern Santiago. It rises 850 meters (2,790 feet) above sea level and about 300 meters (985 feet) above the rest of Santiago; the peak is the second highest point in the city, after Cerro Renca. Cerro San Cristóbal was named by the Spanish conquistadors for St Christopher, in recognition of its use as a landmark. On its summit there is a sanctuary dedicated to the Immaculate Conception, with a 22-meter (72 feet) statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary, an amphitheater and a chapel.
Cerro San Cristóbal houses the Santiago Metropolitan Park. It covers around 722 hectares (1,784 acres), making it the largest urban park in Chile and one of the largest in the world. The park was created in April 1966, when incorporating the Chilean National Zoo and the services of San Cristóbal Hill, and is managed by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development.
Santa Lucía Hill is a small hill in the centre of Santiago. The hill has an altitude of 629 meters (2,064 feet) and a height of 69 meters (226 feet) over the surrounding area. The hill is the remnant of a volcano 15 million years old. The hill comprises a 6,530 hectares (16,135 acres) park adorned with ornate facades, stairways and fountains. At the highest point there is a viewpoint popular with tourists visiting the city.
The Plaza de Armas is the main square of Santiago. It is the centerpiece of the initial layout of Santiago, which has a square grid pattern. This urban design was accomplished by Pedro de Gamboa, which was appointed by Pedro de Valdivia in 1541.
The Metropolitan Cathedral of Santiago is the seat of the Archbishop of Santiago de Chile, and the center of the archdiocese of Santiago de Chile. Construction of the neoclassical cathedral began in 1748 and ended in 1800; further alterations ordered at the end of the 19th century give it its present appearance. Previous cathedrals in the archdiocese had been destroyed by earthquakes.
The Mercado Central de Santiago is the central market of Santiago de Chile. It was opened in 1872 and Fermín Vivaceta was in charge of its construction. The market replaced the Plaza del Abasto, which was destroyed by a fire in 1864.
Barrio Bellavista is known as Santiago’s bohemian quarter, with numerous restaurants, boutiques, avant-garde galleries, bars and clubs. Many of the city’s intellectuals and artists live in Bellavista and Pablo Neruda’s house in Santiago, La Chascona, is in the district.
The Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino is an art museum dedicated to the study and display of pre-Columbian artworks and artifacts from Central and South America. The museum is located in the city centre of Santiago.The museum has over 3,000 people representing almost 100 different groups of people. The collection ranges from about 10,000 years.
The Gran Torre Santiago towers over Santiago and is so high it can be seen from just about anywhere in the city. At 64 stories high, it is the largest skyscraper in Latin America and the highest occupied floor in the Southern Hemisphere. It’s 300 meters (984 feet) high and has six basements. Officially known as Costanera Center Torre 2, it’s part of the center’s complex that includes the largest shopping mall in South America.
Santiago is the cultural, political and financial center of Chile and is home to the regional headquarters of many multinational corporations.
The city’s cultural life is cosmopolitan, its native institutions exhibiting strong European and North American influences.
As in most of Chile, the majority of the population of Santiago is Catholic.
Santiago has a mild Mediterranean climate: Relatively hot dry summers (November to March) with temperatures reaching to 35°C (95°F ) on the hottest days; winters (June to August) are more humid, with typical maximum daily temperatures of 15°C (59°F ), and minimums of a few degrees above freezing.
Due to Santiago’s location on the Pacific Ring of Fire at the boundary of the Nazca and South American plates, it experiences a significant amount of tectonic activity.