Sunday, February 28, 2010

Chile: Santiago

Santiago de Chile

View Larger Map

Santiago, is the capital and largest city of Chile, and the center of its largest conurbation (Greater Santiago). It is located in the country's central valley, at an elevation of 520 m (1,706.04 ft) AMSL. Although Santiago is the capital, legislative bodies meet in nearby Valparaíso.

The city lies in the centre of the Santiago Basin, a large bowl-shaped valley consisting of a broad and fertile plain surrounded by mountains. It is flanked by the main chain of the Andes on the east and the Chilean Coastal Range on the west. On the north, it is bound by the Cordón de Chacabuco, a transverse mountain range of the Andes, whereas at the southern border lies Angostura de Paine, where an elongated spur of the Andes almost reaches the Coastal Range. Santiago Basin is part of the Intermediate Depression and is remarkably flat, interrupted only by a few hills. Among those are Cerro Renca, Cerro Blanco and Cerro Santa Lucía.

According to data collected in the 2002 census by the National Institute of statistics, the Santiago metropolitan area population reached 5.428.590 inhabitants, equivalent to 35,91% of the national total. Most of Chile's population is Catholic and Santiago is no exception. According to the National Census, carried out in 2002 by the National Statistics Bureau (INE), in the Santiago Metropolitan Region, 3,129,249 people 15 and older identified themselves as Catholics, equivalent to 68.7% of the total population, while 595,173 (13.1%) described themselves as Evangelical Protestants. Around 1.2% of the population declared themselves as being Jehovah's Witnesses, while 0.9% identified themselves as Latter-day Saints (Mormons), 0.25% as Jewish, 0.11% as Orthodox and 0.03% as Muslim. Approximately 10.4% of the population of the Metropolitan Region stated that they were atheist or agnostic, while 5.4% declared that they followed other religions.

Chile's steady economic growth has transformed Santiago into one of Latin America's most modern metropolitan areas, with extensive suburban development, dozens of shopping malls, and impressive high-rise architecture. It is an Alpha World City and has some of Latin America's most modern transportation infrastructure, such as the growing Santiago Metro (underground train system) and the new Costanera Norte, a toll-based highway system that passes below downtown and connects the Eastern and Western extremes of the city in a 25-minute drive. Santiago is the regional headquarters to many multinationals, and a regional financial centre.

No comments:

Post a Comment