Santiago is the big and diverse capital of Chile. It is the place where everything happens, from music festivals to social protests, and much more. It is also the place of arrival when you come to Chile. The city has a lot of beautiful places to see- way too many to fit into one story! However, I will try my best to give you an overview of the must-sees of Santiago de Chile.
Located near the Andes Range, it is a place of worship of the Bahá'í faith. First, I think it is essential to explain - in a very brief way- what the Bahá'í faith is about. It is a monotheistic religion based on the teachings of Bahá'u'lláh, a prophet, and founder, who is considered to be the 'Manifestation of God on earth' A wonderful thing about the Bahá'í faith is that their central belief and goal is union: Unity of God, Unity of Religion, and Unity of Humanity.
Now, I will tell you a little bit about the Bahá'í Temple itself. The worship house has a unique shape, as you can see in pictures- it looks like a flower. It is a 30 meters tall flower, whose petals are made with extraordinary materials: glass and marble brought from Brazil. This combination of materials was chosen so that the temple would always be illuminated by natural light. The Bahá'í Houses of Worship are places open to the public; not only you get to enjoy the beautiful architecture and gardens of the place, but also a stunning view of Santiago. Keep in mind that the goal of this place is more than that; it is for you to get in touch with your spirituality, to reflect on life, and get a break from the city. Also, to make you feel welcome, as the Bahá'í faith does this with everyone equally.
If you visit this place, keep in mind that it is a place of spiritual connection and a worship place of religion, so respect is fundamental. You cannot take pictures, nor speak when you are inside the temple, people go to meditate there and doing said things would disturb their activities. Besides that, it is essential to mention that the gardens are also places of meditation, so you can not eat or smoke in them. The Bahá'í worship center is the perfect place to get away from the noise and pollution of the city and rest your soul.
Also called the Center for the Arts, Culture, and People, this is a contemporary cultural center. It was named after the Nobel Prize winner Gabriela Mistral, a Chilean poet and renowned woman of our country. The GAM is located in the heart of Santiago, between the main street of the capital (Alameda) and Barrio Lastarria (more on Barrio Lastarria if you keep scrolling!). It was inaugurated in 2010 to bring culture to all audiences. The building has a lot of rooms for dancing, music, arts, and many more activities, as well as five squares and a library inside: the BiblioGAM, a library focused on the scenic and visual arts.
The GAM fulfills its purpose, it brings culture to a lot of audiences- from the teenagers you will see dancing K-POP in the outside of the building, to the older people going to exhibitions. Visit the GAM and get closer to the Chilean culture.
Lastarria Neighbourhood is a gastronomical, cultural, and touristic center in Santiago. Since it is well known for its relaxed vibe and bohemia, walk through the neighborhood and discover artisans, book stores, antiques, and so much more!
I highly recommend you visit the Chipe Libre - Republica Independiente del Pisco, a resto-bar known for serving only Pisco- do not think that their menu is dull though! They have nearly 100 different brands of Pisco, which also means different kinds of drinks. Another appealing thing about this place is that they serve both Chilean and Peruvian Pisco, which you can drink in creative styles or in "vuelos," small cups of different Piscos. Fun tip: check out their facebook page and read the genius description of the place!
To eat, I recommend you go to Le Bistrot Viet, a restaurant that offers typical Vietnamese cuisine! It is a trendy place among the locals because it is delicious and exotic. What is remarkable about the place is that the recipes actually come from a Vietnamese woman, the mother of Kim My Houang, partner of french chef Gaëtan Eonet, with whom she owns the place. Coming to this restaurant is not only a pleasing experience but also an opportunity to experience tradition.
It is one of the three houses of Nobel Prize winner, Pablo Neruda. The house is located in the Bellavista neighborhood, and its story is exciting and a bit scandalous. Neruda built this house so that his secret love Matilde Urrutia would live there (it was a secret because Neruda was already married!). Fun fact! The name "La Chascona" is in honor of Urrutia's abundant red hair and was also Neruda's nickname to her. There are some exciting things to see inside the house, including the artworks of Diego Rivera.
It is the tallest skyscraper of South America! The project included four buildings- only two of which got constructed- a skyscraper and a six floored shopping mall. The name of the main building is "Gran Torre Santiago." This tower is almost 300 meters tall and has 62 floors, in there you can visit the Sky Costanera, a 360° viewpoint, from where you will be able to see Santiago from the top, as well as the Andes Mountain range.
What you just read is just an overview of the endless activities and places Santiago has to offer! What I told you in this article is the tip of the iceberg- there is so much more: excellent gastronomy, cool nightlife, peaceful parks, and exciting museums, among many other things. If you come to Chile, explore Santiago and discover the secrets of the city.
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