The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has recognized five World Heritage Sites in Chile over the past several years.
The following sites in Chile are recognized as part of the World Heritage Convention:
Historic Quarter of the Seaport City of Valparaíso (2003): Valparaíso is a colonial city full of examples of late 19th-century urban architectural development in Latin America. Forming a natural amphitheater around a bay, the city rises and spreads out across a dizzying series of hillsides, a dramatic contrast with the geometrical layout of the city's flat bayside zone. Valparaíso also contains interesting examples of early industrial infrastructure, including many old elevators dotting the hillsides.
Further information: Valparaíso Municipal Tourism Office, Telephone: (56) 293 9262
Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works (2005): The Humberstone and Santa Laura sites contain over 200 saltpeter extraction areas where workers from Chile, Peru and Bolivia lived together in mine company camps. Here, these workers founded a communal culture forged in the remote desert, characterized by creativity, rich linguistic expression, solidarity among its members and a fight for social justice, an important precursor to future social justice movements. Beginning in 1880 and continuing over the next 60 years, thousands of miners came to extract saltpeter - or nitrate from the largest deposit in the world at these and other sites in this desert region, one of the most arid zones on the planet presenting daunting obstacles to survival. The saltpeter mined here was used to produce sodium nitrate fertilizer that would transform agricultural lands in North and South America as well as Europe, and which became an important source of income for Chile. This site was placed on the World Heritage in Danger list to help procure resources for its conservation because of the vulnerability of the site's structures and its susceptibility to earthquakes.
Further information: Regional Tourism Office of Tarapacá, Telephone: (57) 427 686
Rapa Nui National Park (1995): Rapa Nui, the indigenous name for Easter Island, is a site that bears testimony to a phenomenal culture, unique to anywhere else in the world. The society of Polynesian origin that settled on the island around 300 AD established a potent and original tradition of constructing enormous sculptures with no known outside influence. Beginning in the 10th century and continuing into the 16th century, the Rapa Nui society built various shrines and erected monumental stone figures called moai. Today, this unique cultural landscape continues to fascinate visitors from all corners of the earth.
Further information: Telephone/fax: 123 32-210 0255
Sewell Mining Town (2006): Located 60 km east of Rancagua and 2,000 meters above sea level in the tempestuous Andes mountain range, Sewell Mining Town was built by the Braden Copper Company in 1905 to accommodate miners working in El Teniente mine, the world's largest underground copper mine. This site is an example of the countless company towns constructed in remote areas the world over for the purposes of mining and processing valuable natural resources through a combination of local labor and the resources of an industrialized country. The town, built on terrain too steep for wheeled vehicles, was constructed around a huge central stairway climbing from the railway station. The town's public spaces line the length of this stairway and include small, irregularly shaped plazas and ornamental trees and plants. Buildings are primarily constructed from timber and painted in vibrant greens, yellows, reds and blues. At the height of its boom years, Sewell's inhabitants numbered approximately 15,000, but was largely abandoned by the 1970s.
Further information: Telephone: (72) 230 413
Churches of Chiloé (2000): Constructed entirely out of wood, the churches of Chiloé represent an example of religious architecture that is unique within Latin America. These churches embody an architectural tradition begun by the Jesuit Peripatetic Mission in the 17th and 18th centuries that the Franciscans built upon during the 19th century, and that still persists into the present. Aside from illustrating the cultural riches of the Chiloé archipelago, these churches stand testament to the successful cultural fusion of indigenous techniques with European methods, the perfect harmony of architecture with its landscape and environment, and the enduring spirituality of these island communities.
Further information: http://www.iglesiasdechiloe.cl/
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