Valparaiso – walking up and down a city-scaled museum

Valparaiso is located on the South Pacific coast, about 2 hrs away from Santiago de Chile. It used to be one of the main ports in the Pacific, but the opening of the Panama Canal affected the economy of the city. Nonetheless, the city continues to be one of the most important seaports in the South Pacific, as well as a flourishing cultural and educational center.

During its golden age it was known as “Little San Francisco” and “the jewel of the Pacific”. The beautiful buildings in the city center and the imposing constructions in the port stand as a testimony of that period, fact which included the historic quarters in the UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003.

Valparaiso - historiric quarter

Valparaiso - historic quarter

Fine Arts Museum

Valparaiso - historic quarter

Fine Arts Museum

Valparaiso - historic quarter

Valparaiso - historic quarter

Valparaiso - historic quarter

Valparaiso spreads around steep hillsides. If you are not willing to take the stairs, you can try the 26 functional funiculars. But some of the stair streets will definitely worth the effort.

Valparaiso funiculars

Source: moon.com

Valparaiso funicular Ascensor

Source: http://www.mackeyinc.com The Artilleria funicular has been serving the city since 1893

Or why not slide down?

Valparaiso sled

In the last years artists have been taking over Valparaiso, transforming a decaying city into a vibrant and colorful destination. You can wonder the streets for hours, getting lost in the chaotic maze and discovering enchanting details at every corner. It feels like a spell has been put over the city, giving the houses a life of their own.

As is the case of many other cities, street art becomes a mean of talking about important issues, such as multiculturalism, ethnicity, human rights or the environment, not just a way of creating beautiful images.

Valparaiso street art

Valparaiso street art

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Valparaiso street art

Valparaiso street art

Valparaiso street art

Valparaiso street art

Valparaiso street art

Valparaiso street art

Valparaiso street art

While here, you can also visit Pablo Neruda`s home, La Sebastiana. The poet dedicated an ode to the city that inspired him. The Fine Arts Museum, the Museum of Natural History, the Naval Museum and the Cultural Park  are also worth a visit. The Cultural Park was built on the site of a former prison.

Valparaiso Cultural Park

Source: http://www.plataformaarquitectura.cl – Cultural Park

Valparaiso Cultural Park

Source: radio.uchile.cl – Cultural Park

Even though I consider the old city an enormous open air museum, just one part of the center is considered one.

Valparaiso open air museum

Source: redbellavista-v-region.blogspot.com  – Open air museum

Valparaiso open air museum

Source: http://www.juntoalbarrio.cl – Open air museum

As one might expect, most restaurants serve fish dishes and sea food. Surprisingly, the city is associated with another typical Chilean dish: the chorillana. The city takes proud in having the best chorillana in the country.

To sum up, if you have a few days in Santiago, Valparaiso is a must-see destination that will take you out of this world.

 

Street Art in Santiago de Chile

I believe that street art tells a lot about a community`s philosophy and spirituality. This is why I like to wonder the streets and to listen to what the images have to say.

Just like in Sao Paulo,  street art reveals a hidden face of Santiago and Chile through a wide range of messages and ideas, from fantasy-related themes to more serious issues such as poverty, ethnicity and ecology.

The paintings completely change the way the building look like, giving you the impression that you are walking into a fantasy world.

The most famous neighborhoods are Barrio Brasil, Barrio Yungay, Bellas Artes and Bellavista.

Discover Santiago through street art!

Barrio Brasil & Barrio Yungay

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Bellavista & Bellas Artes

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Paulista street art

I was amazed to discover so many high-quality examples of street art in Rio de Janeiro, but I have to admit that Sao Paulo is a lot better. The artists can transform the simplest building into a work of art. The city council new how to take advantage of this situation and they started contracting underground artists that soon transformed the city into a sort of urban museum where you can find paintings in the most unexpected places.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This phenomenon convinced the authorities to place the “hot spots” for street art on touristic maps. This is the first city that I’ve seen where the officials promote, encourage and finance underground art. I hope that someday this type of works will be as appreciated as the works of art displayed in museums. Sao Paulo is making steps for transforming this into reality.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The Vila Madalena neighbourhood is probably the best area for admiring graffitti paintings, but there are some examples on Av. Paulista, for example. The “Beco del Rato” is an example of how  a common street can be transformed into a place for imagination and inspiration. Here I met one of the artists from the Kobra group working on their latest work. They also made the portrait of Niemeyer on Paulista.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I like the fact that the artists basically transform the city into a canvas for their ideas. Just like in Rio, most of the times the murals send different messages concerning the environment, political issues or social problems. I believe this way of expression make this city unique. I wish Bucharest could follow this example and start colouring the grey atmosphere.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Carioca Street Art

One of the many immigrants that are living in Rio got famous through his art. He was living in a house in Lapa, right next to the stairs that lead to Santa Teresa. He began adding pieces of ceramics on the stairs. Friends and admirers donated tiles and porcelain. It took him 20 years to finish his work, but now this is the heart of Rio de Janeiro. Probably every person who`s been to Rio has seen the Escadaria Selaron. When he was 65 years old he was found dead on the steps. As Selaron himself stated, the stairs are a tribute to the Brazilian people.

Image

Image

Lapa shows many examples of good street art. But you can find this everywhere around the city, in the facy neighborhoods and in the favela.

It is an important aspect of the underground culture in Rio and I think it helps you learn about the people`s mentality. The subject they choose are sometimes very interesting because they raise awareness on important subjects like ecology, discrimination, poverty or homophobia. It is a great way to learn about the culture.

 Image

Image

Image

Image

 

Image

This is an example of participative street art. In this case, people are asked to right down their wishes.

Image