|Viña del Mar - Photo: latercera.com|
A great event that has made the city famous throughout Latin America and the World is the Festival Internacional de la Cancion (International Song Festival), also known as the Festival de Viña, which since 1959 takes place every year during the month of February. The event is held at the Quinta Vergara, amphitheater with capacity for more than 15 thousand people. Since its inception, a myriad of great artists have performed on its stage, Ray Conniff, Neil Sedaka, Tom Jones, Julio Iglesias, Luis Miguel, Mercedes Soza, Lucio Dalla, Modern Talking, Miami Sound Machine, Franz Ferdinand, Gustavo Cerati, Kool & the Gang, Miguel Bose, Morrissey, Simply Red, Shakira, Lionel Richie, Rick Astley and many others. Traditionally, the final day of the Festival de la Cancion de Vina del Mar, marks the end of the holiday season for most of the vacationers, as the date generally coincides with the end of the hottest days of the summer and also the return of students to classes.
Currently, climate change, and especially El Niño phenomenon have produced heavy swells along the entire Chilean coastline flooding the plain areas and causing great damage, in this case behind the beaches of Viña del Mar and to the beaches themselves. In parts, there has been serious erosion of the soil reaching even the pavement of the streets. However, this city, its authorities and people that largely lives off tourism, are constantly working to maintain what has always been the cozy infrastructure that surrounds the shoreline, even refilling with sand the beaches that have suffered the greatest damage. For its part, the Chilean Navy has called on the community and visitors to act with prudence and caution, respecting safety regulations, avoiding transit through dangerous areas, not to swim in unauthorized beaches or to practice nautical activities without authorization.
|Repair jobs at Reñaca Beach - Photo: latercera.com|
Palacio Presidencial Cerro Castillo (Cerro Castillo Presidential Palace)
Address: 398, Callao Street. Neo-colonial mansion located at Viña del Mar downtown, (Castillo Hill). It is the resting place of the presidents of Chile and occasionally works as an alternative seat of the Government Palace located in Santiago. It was built between 1929 and 1930 in the place where was situated the old Fort Callao, which once protected the neighboring city of Valparaiso. Open to general public during the Dia del Patrimonio Cultural (Cultural Heritage Day) which is commemorated every year the last Sunday of May.
Palacio Rioja Museum
Address: 214, Quillota Street. Museum and former palace of French neoclassical style, housing an exquisite collection of furniture of the early twentieth century. The building is situated in the place where in the past stood the manor houses of "La Viña de la Mar" farm, owned by Jose Francisco Vergara and Mercedes Alvarez, founders of the Garden City. In 1907, after the earthquake that had devastated Valparaiso and Vina del Mar the previous year, Mr. Fernando Rioja Medel, owner of the first tobacco industry in Chile, started the construction of this palace, whose design was commissioned to the French architect Alfredo Azancot. In 1956 the building was acquired by the Municipality of Viña del Mar, which allocated it for cultural events and ceremonies, since 1971 the building functioned as City Hall, and finally, in 1979 the Palacio Rioja was destined for Museum of Decorative Art. In 1985, the residence, together with its surrounding park were declared a National Historical Monument. After the earthquake of historic proportions that struck Central Chile in February 2010 (8.8 magnitude on the Richter scale), the palace suffered structural damage and was closed. In 2014 began its restoration and recovery of works of art, furniture and acquisition of new equipment. The building was reopened on May 13, 2016. The palace gardens have native species such as Araucarias of more than 200 years, there are also hundreds of species from China, Brazil, Australia and Japan. Among the most representative halls of the Museo de Arte Decorativo Palacio Rioja are the Salon Rosado and Salon Celeste, the collection consists of 333 objects of great aesthetic, historical and heritage value that are exhibited permanently in the rooms that once were the residence of the Rioja family.
Castillo Wulff (Wulff Castle)
|The Wulff Castle|
Castillo Brunet (Brunet Castle)
Castillo Ross (Ross Castle)
Address: 50, Marina Av. Today turned into the Club Union Arabe, is a replica of a nineteenth century Scottish residence, built in 1912 by the renowned architect Alberto Cruz Montt at the request of Gustavo Ross Santa Maria, politician and businessman of the time. Its architecture belongs to the medieval Tudor style, a design born in England during the sixteenth century and whose characteristics are based on sophistication and wealth. Its exterior stonework is outstanding. Inside, the building keeps original furniture and rooms, such as the old desks, bedroom and luxurious bathroom fully built in Carrara marble used by the former owner and his illustrious guests, including the Prince of Wales, who was here in 1925 .
Palacio Vergara Museum of Fine Arts
Reloj de Flores (Flower Clock)
Traditional postcard of Viña del Mar, at the foot of Cerro Castillo, in front of Caleta Abarca beach. It was installed in 1962, when the city was one of the venues for the FIFA World Cup held in Chile during that year. The current GPS controlled mechanism, also includes ringing and melodies digitally programmed, changing according to the seasons and important days to celebrate.
Jardin Botanico Nacional de Viña del Mar
Address: 305, Camino El Olivar, El Salto. One of the most important green areas of Vina del Mar, located in the area of El Salto, SE of the city, with a total of 395 hectares of native and exotic plants that make it an excellent choice for a walk in the nature. It is also known as "Parque del Salitre" ("Saltpeter Park") given that its creator was Pascual Baburizza, businessman of Croatian origin who, among other activities, devoted to the trade of nitrate industry in the early decades of the 1900s. In fact, of the current area open to the visitors, there are 22 hectares belonging to the former park built by Baburizza in 1918, the National Botanic Garden itself was created in 1951 when the original Parque del Salitre, was donated to the state of Chile. The park contains more than 3,000 plant species of all types, a large number of trees and a palm grove, plus a pool with a pedestrian walkway ending in a trail in the woods.