Santiago Neighborhoods with Cultura Mapocho
Unlike in many other major South American cities, there is little old architecture left in Santiago
. This is partially a result of Chile’s fierce seismic episodes—the strongest earthquake in recorded history struck Valdivia in 1960—but at the same time, many central neighborhoods have simply been built over since the city’s 1541 founding. In recent years, however, citizens’ groups have sounded the alarm about the negative impact of uncontrolled development and have begun to offer neighborhood walking tours that focus on the remaining landmark structures from colonial times to the present. The community organization Cultura Mapocho was a pioneer in educating the neighborhoods on the issue of overdevelopment, and has garnered so much respect it now trains official government tour guides to lead its popular walking tours. Check the website for its next event—there’s usually at least one a month—and join other locals and visitors as they discover the history of an old city that is getting new respect.