Valpara√≠so¬† is the third largest¬†city¬†of Chile, one of the country’s most important seaports and¬†an increasing cultural center in the Southwest Pacific hemisphere.¬†The city¬†played an important geopolitical role in the second half of the 19th century, when the city served as a major stopover for ships traveling between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans by crossing the Straits of Magellan. Always a magnet for European immigrants, Valpara√≠so mushroomed during its golden age, when the city was known by international sailors as ‚ÄúLittle San Francisco‚Äù and ‚ÄúThe Jewel of the Pacific.‚Äù
Valpara√≠so was declared a world heritage site based upon its improvised urban design and unique architecture. In 1998, grassroots activists convinced the Chilean government and local authorities to apply for UNESCO world heritage status for Valpara√≠so, being¬†declared a World Heritage Site in 2003. Built upon dozens of steep hillsides overlooking the Pacific Ocean, Valpara√≠so boasts a labyrinth of streets and cobblestone alleyways, embodying a rich architectural and cultural legacy.