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Valparaiso and Viña del Mar   1 | 2 

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Plaza Sotomayor — One of the main centers of activity in Valparaiso, the Plaza Satamayor was, up until a year or two ago, called the largest parking lot in Chile. The entire plaza was filled from morning to night with parked cars, so that it looked like a used-car dealership hit by a tornado. Now, employees of the Regional Naval Headquarters (shown — formerly the Government House) and courts lining the plaza use an underground parking lot, allowing tourists to stray across the tiled grounds. However, roads still cut through it, so pedestrians thinking they're just out for a casual stroll need to take heed of the speeding taxis and collectivos.
Plaza Satamayor - Heroes of Iquique — A statue erected in honor of the bloodiest massacre in Chilean Naval History, a battle wherein Captain Arturo Prat blockaded the critical Peruvian port of Iquique in 1879, then proceeded to get rammed and sunk by a huge, ironclad Peruvian battleship without so much as breaking a sweat. Unfortunately, they were supposed to be fighting Argentina. Oops.
Tugboat, Anyone? — The Valparaiso harbor is a mix of boats in all shapes and sizes. A dozen tugboats — used for carrying tourists around the harbor, or up the coast to Viña del Mar — are sandwiched in between a giant cruise ship and a cargo ship, with a couple of Chilean naval battleships in the background nearly closing the gap.
Someday, I Want to be a Staten Island Ferry! — A tiny tugboat with a Statue of Liberty logo and "I Love New York" logo looks sorely out of place. Perhaps competition in the Hudson River got a little too rough?
Congress Building — The dictator Pinochet's greatest financial blunder: an overpriced and under-appreciated home for Congress, built NOT in the capital city, 90 km away, but rather on the site of his boyhood home. It has become the source of great consternation, particularly among those members of the Congress that have to race back and forth between here and Santiago. (Speeding tickets are given out like candy.)
Funicular Central — One of the traits that makes Valparaiso special is its liberal use of funicular railways (also called ascensors), with 18 or so in just a couple of square kilometers. San Francisco civil engineers take note: as rickety as these hillside trains are, they actually turn out to be quite efficient for quickly shuttling people from all the businesses and shops downtown to the stately homes and hotels on top of the hills.
Ascensor Artillería — Construction is so dense in the city now, there wouldn't be room to replace the ascensors with roads even if they wanted to.
Cerro Panteon — From the top of Ascensor El Pader, you get fine views of the many hills in Valparaiso. A Catholic girls school sits atop Cerro Panteon to the east.

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Last updated: 19 May 2002 22:03:19