The sprawling valley city of Santiago is Chile's capital and largest city, as well as the hub of economic and cultural activity in the country. Surrounded by the picturesque, snow-capped Andes, the cityscape is marvellous, combining the modern cosmopolitan skyscrapers with the historic buildings that tell tales of Chilean culture to produce one of the most iconic skylines of South America. The city teems with culture at every corner, made better with an exotic cuisine of unique Latin American food and more vivacious nightlife.
Santiago is galore of cultural artefacts spread across the city, the most iconic being the home of the famous literary icon Pablo Neruda, now turned into museum devoted to his life and his legacy. The Plaza de Armas functions as the concentrated quarter of the city's history and colonial heritage, home to landmarks of neo-classical architecture such as the Palacio de Real Audencia and the Metropolitana Cathedral, sporting fascinating 19th century architecture. The city has also developed a moc colonial village known as Pueblito Los Dominicas where you can learn more about colonial lifestyle of Chile. Surrounded by the foothills of the majestic Andes, there is no dearth of scenic natural beauty in and around the city. The San Cristobal hill hosts the massive Santiago Metropolitan Park, a giant 722 hectare green space that carries many recreational activities for locals and tourists alike. The hill is also the location for the Chilean National Zoo, and the Sanctuary of San Cristobal Hill, site of the massive 14 meter high statue dedicated to the Virgin Mary and the Immaculate Conception. The hill also provides one of the most beautiful panoramas of the city and the valley. Santiago's nightlife is best experienced in the lively neighbourhoods of Barrio Brasil and Barrio Bellavista, the latter of which has an interesting Bohemian touch to it. A trip to the city would be incomplete without indulging in some of the best of Chile's mouthwatering cuisine, such as the Empanadas, Churrasco and Chacacero. Don't forget to try the spicy Pebre, a delicious sauce that is totally worth burning your tongue over.
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