Chillán - Photos: Jorge González
athed by the Ńuble and Chillán Rivers, Chillán -which in the Mapuche tongue means “chair in the sun” or “sitting in the sun”- is one of the most picturesque cities in the country.
Standing 400 kilometers South of Santiago, Chillán is the capital of the Province of Ńuble. It is located on a vast plain between the Costa Mountain Range and the Andes Mountain Range. Its present population reaches 165 thousand inhabitants, who devote themselves to service activities and tasks related to the agricultural industry, which has boomed in the last few years.
Chillán was founded in June 26, 1580 by don
Martín Ruiz de Gamboa and was rebuilt several times by various reasons, ranging from Indian raids to earthquakes. As a result, the community called Old Chillán is located next to the new city where the main square contains a statue of the hero of national independence: Bernardo O’Higgins, who was born in this city and has become its favorite son.
A city tour around the new city enables visitors to see several attractions, including the handicrafts market, famous all around the country for its size, and the undercover market, where all kinds of typical dishes of local gastronomy may be tasted. The cathedral, the Saint John of God chapel (where the liberator Bernardo O’Higgins was baptized) and Saint Francis’ Convent are some of the most outstanding architectural works in the city which, along with the Siqueiros murals and the Franciscan Museum, constitute the cultural and historical heritage in the city.
As far as tourism is concerned, the city is a strategic point to see the diverse and amazing geography of the region. The most visited site, both in summer and winter, is the venue called Chillán Hot Springs. Lying only 80 kilometers from the city, it is an international tourist resort that turns into one of the best winter sports venue in the world every season. It contains the longest ski trail in Latin America and hot spring waters of volcanic origin where visitors may take baths in the open air and enjoy a luxurious mountain spa located in Gran Hotel Termas de Chillán.
In the summer, there are multiple proposals and the entire Trancas Valley welcomes thousands of adventurers and campers who come along to enjoy outdoor life and natural attractions, rent cabins and get deep into these wonderful forests.