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The Historic Quarter of the Seaport City of Valparaiso testifies to Valparaiso's leading position as a merchant port in the late 19th century.

Valparaiso was founded in 1542 by the Spaniards. It served mostly as a small port for trade with Peru. After the independence, Valparaiso became one of the most important ports on the Pacific coast of South America.

Valparaiso actually exists of two completely different cities. The lower part has narrow streets along the bay, while the upper part boasts great colourful mansions and houses. The nominated property is located between the sea and the first terrace, in the area where the city first developed.

Included areas are:
- La Matríz Church and Santo Domingo Square
- Echaurren Square and Serrano Street
- Prat Pier, Sotomayor and Justicia Squares, Sea Museum Quarter
- Prat Street and Turri Square
- Cerro Alegre and Cerro Concepción

Visit March 2002

I had heard raving reviews about this city, but it disappointed me at first sight. There is a lot of traffic and smog, and a real town centre is hard to find.

The special thing about this city is the division between its lower and upper parts. Via early 20th century elevators you can travel between these two worlds. Only about 7 people fit in, and it's quite scary because of the steepness of the hills.

When you arrive in the upper town, a completely different world awaits you: bright colours, artistic buildings, narrow backroads.


Maria Mercedes A. (Canada):
Amazing!Great souvenirs, the stairs, 15 lifts, the old port, the hills, the coloured houses, the restaurants behind the ocean and yum,yum seafood including jumbo Hommards from Robinson Crusoe island and, famous wine.

Very exciting City, full of places to discover as the old downtown, the commercial heart of Valparaiso, the Turry Tower Clock, the museum in Cerro Alegre(Happy Hill)with an imprenable Bay view, Victoria Square with lions and fountain, take a bus to sourround the upper City by Alemania avenue; if you like to walk, expend some time in Cordillera, Alegre, Mariposas Hills(+-44). Other interesting place is Playa Ancha and his Quinta de recreo.

At dark, night clubs welcome those with energy to prolong the pleasure with live shows. Next morning dont forget to enjoy a soup at one its public Markets as Cardonal Mercado!

A Magic City
Date posted: April 2008
John Booth (New Zealand):
The only disappointing thing we found in Valparaiso was the large amount of restoration work being undertaken. The whole of Serrano Street, the heart of the WHC site, had been dug up, and workers were painstakingly laying new cobble stones along its full length.

The 15 ascensores(lifts) are an intrinsic part of the scene, groaning their way up and down the hillsides, as they have done for over a century, a tribute to the German engineers that built them.

The maze of narrow streets that make up the Upper Town were a delight; a new vista of the harbour opened up around every corner, as well as brightly coloured houses and small eateries.
claudia setien benvenuto (chile):
i live in Valparaiso an d i born in the historic quarter of this seaport city. It's a beatiful and wonderful city.
i recommended to visit, and to live too.

There is a lot of undiscovered and beatiful places ...

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Site info

Historic Quarter of the Seaport City of Valparaiso
Country: Chile
Inscribed: 2003
Cultural Heritage
Criteria:  (3)
Category: Urban landscape, Maritime

Site history:
2003 Inscribed
Reasons for inscription

Site links

Official website:
»Ciudad de Valparaiso

In the news:
» Blaze threatening Valparaiso's historic port (15-04-2014).
» Mall project threatens Valparaiso's old world charm (13-02-2014).
» Significant structural damage in Valparaiso at the La Matriz church and the Port market place (05-03-2010).
» Chile earthquake damages unique world heritage city of Valparaiso (01-03-2010).
» UNESCO offers help to restore burned down World Heritage Site in Chile (09-02-2007).

Related links:
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Related Forum posts:
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Getting there

This WHS has 1 location(s).


Vernacular architecture .
Elevators . Funiculars .
Cultural sites damaged by fire since inscription . Destroyed or damaged by Earthquake .
Pacific Ocean . Pan-American Highway .
Human Activity
Sea Ports .
Individual People
Charles Darwin .
Religion and Belief
Protestantism .
Built in the 19th Century .
Works by Nobel Prize winning authors .
WHS on Other Lists
World Monuments Watch (past) . World Monuments Watch (past) .
World Heritage Process
Inscribed on a single criterion only .

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