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Santiago, the capital of Chile, is an enormous metropolis, but the city's central area is relatively small and can be explored on foot. Santiago's central area is roughly triangularly shaped and bordered by the Rio Mapocho on the north. There are numerous plazas and thoroughfares, lined with large public buildings, in Santiago. The city boasts numerous churches and parks as well. Santiago's grid was imposed by the Spanish and nowadays it is prone to traffic jams and pollution. Especially lively is the area of Bellavista, also known as the 'Paris quarter'

Some of the most interesting sights in Santiago include the bustling Mercado Central, the pedestrian mall of Paseo Ahumada and the Palacio de La Moneda, which was originally built as the mint, during colonial times. It was also Allende's final refuge and nowadays it is used as the presidential palace. Santiago's historical core is centered on the Plaza de Armas.

There are numerous museums in Santiago. The Pre-Colombian Museum has a large exhibition of ancient artifacts, while the Museo de Santiago shows Santiago's sprawl with dioramas and reconstructions. European and Chilean art can be seen at the Palacio de Bellas Artes, which was built as a copy of the Petit Palais in Paris.

On the top of the 860-metre Cerro San Cristóbal that looms over the city, is a huge statue of the Virgin Mary. The mountain is included in the Parque Metropolitano recreational area.

There are countless hotels, hostels, dormitories and other forms of accommodation in Santiago. Around the bus station of Terminal de Buses Norte are many of the cheaper places, while more expensive and thus better hotles can be found in the central area, which is bounded by Avenida Balmaceda and Avenida General O'Higgins, which is more commonly known as the Alameda. Bars and restaurants are scattered all over the city, although many of them are clustered around the Alameda and Plaza de Armas, as well as in the vicinity of bus terminals and on pedestrian malls.

Miscellaneous Information

Latitude:    33 27 S
Longitude: 70 42 W
Elevation:  520 m (1706 ft.)

Population: 8,000,000
Cost-of-living compared to Washington D.C.: 119%

Hours from UTC: -3
Daylight savings time: Late October through late March

City phone code: 2
Country phone code: 56

Average Weather Patterns

January20.6°C (69.1°F)0.3 cm (0.12 in)
April15.3°C (59.5°F)1.3 cm (0.51 in)
July8.9°C (48°F)7.6 cm (2.99 in)
October14.7°C (58.5°F)1.5 cm (0.59 in)

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