Santiago is the center of Chile – not only geographically. This is where everything is concentrated: the history of the country, its politics and economy, the medial focus and demographic development. The vibrant metropolis inhabits approximately six million people and thus every third Chilean. Many of them live in the suburbs and struggle for social advancement day after day. Here, dreary everyday life dominates and sometimes also poverty. This is the tired face of the capital.
Meanwhile, the city center presents itself from a different angle. On the Plaza de Armas pensioners play chess, pedestrians speechlessly watch the Chinchinero-Musicians and old ladies humbly cross themselves before entering the classicist cathedral. Neatly dressed brokers meet for their lunch break in one of the many cafés close to the Governmental Palace La Moneda. Students hurry through the passages full of colorful shops, passing all the peaceful street dogs, to the next metro station. At the market loud voices advertise potatoes, fish and tomatoes. A couple of streets further sellers and buyers negotiate a fair price for jewelry, art and clothing. And in the halls of the museums and galleries schoolkids and tourists are astonished about the extracts of Chile's history and culture.
Santiago is vivid, colorful and rich in history. The sights from the mountainous parks of Santa Lucía or San Cristóbal right in the center of the city impressively summarize the versatility of this place. At the same time the views underscore why Santiago is so distinct from all the other metropolises: the Andes. Covered with snow, the massive summits quietly and proudly rise over the turbulent capital. The presence of its graceful silhouette underlines where you are – at the tip of the world.