Known for being Chile's sixth most populated city, Valparaíso, founded in 1536 by a Spanish explorer named Juan de Saavedra, gets its name from the explorer's hometown in Spain. Strategically located between the Pacific Ocean and the steep hills of the extensive coastal mountain range, Valparaíso, lovingly referred to as "The Jewel of the Pacific," is home to one of Chile's most important seaports and naval bases.
Vulnerable to destructive seismic activity due to its location near the Peru-Chile Trench, Valparaíso has been severely affected by destructive earthquakes more than once. Most recently, on February 27, 2010, Valparaíso suffered a catastrophic earthquake that measured 8.8 on the Richter scale and which claimed 114 lives in the city alone. After the earthquake, Valparaíso was hit by a tsunami that closed the port and continued the devastation of the city. Similar earthquakes in 1985, 1906, and 1730 laid waste to the city, which required the total reconstruction of most of its structures.
Today, Valparaíso is a bustling city where visitors can enjoy its colorful colonial architecture and labyrinth of cobblestone alleys. The city became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003 due to its beautifully unique architecture spread over dozens of steep inclines, which enjoy a full ocean view, and its funicular transportation system. It is close to Viña Del Mar, known for being the home of the annual International Song Festival, first held in 1960. Because of its location and beautiful surroundings, one of the most important industries in Valparaíso is tourism, which has resulted in about 50 cruise ships visiting the port during the four-month-long summer, making it a great place to visit!
What was it called before the Spanish arrived?