La Serena is a city with coasts over the Pacific Ocean and capital of the Fourth Region of Coquimbo. It is located 470 km to the north of Santiago and is inhabited by 160.150 people (2002 census), predicted by the Chilean National Statistics Institute to increase to 208.940 in 2009 .
Founded by Captain John Bohón (Spanish) in 1544, is the second oldest city in Chile. Its age has allowed a greater development than other cities, with an economy based on mining and agribusiness. Today has a large hotel infrastructure and tourism services, making La Serena one of the major tourist destinations in the country.
The beautiful sandy beaches are one of the main attractions of the city. However, recreational activities such as fashion shows, music festivals, rally racing, Davis Cup and the visit of cruises are some other reasons why thousands of tourists choose La Serena to enjoy their holidays.
La Serena has a unique neo-classical architecture. Beautiful houses, churches, squares, parks, museums and other old buildings, contrast with the new structures as malls, hotels and others, giving a unique and distinctive visual of the area.
The climate is moderated by its coast proximity that regulates the few annual rainfalls and temperatures between 14°C minimum and 20°C maximum. It is a privileged area for the stellar sky observation, inspiring the installation of many observatories.
The Weapons Square: it is located in the downtown. In the middle of the square there is a huge stone font, constructed by the artist Samuel Roman (National Prize of Art, 1964).
Gabriel González Videla Square: it is the main place for cultural fairs during the summer season in La Serena.
Cathedral Church: it has the oldest temple of the city called Matriz Temple, which was burned by the pirate Bartolomé Sharp. The building contains a neo classical style, with stone columns and wood roof, and The Tower is the center of the facade.
Santa Ines Chapel: is one of the four chapels built by the first inhabitants of the city. It was declared a National Monument in 1977.
Archaeological Museum: The building presents some elements in stone of classical and baroque style. The museum has Chilean archaeological halls where there are exposed pieces of the "Diaguitas" and "El Molle" cultures.
Mineralogical Museum "Ignacio Domeyko": expose more than 7.000 mineralogical samples from mining districts in different parts of the country and abroad.
Other tourist attractions:
· Observatories: Las Campanas, el Tololo, La Silla and the Municipal Cerro Mamalluca Observatory
· The Monumental Lighthouse
· Squares: Los Poetas, Juan Pablo II, España y Santo Domingo
· Churches: San Juan de Dios, San Francisco, San Agustín
· Chadwick - Valdes House
· Herrero’s House
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