Day 4 - Iquique (Chile)



With a moderate and never too hot or cold climate, Iquique shows grand mansions of the mineral barons in contrast with modern buildings and miles of golden sand.

In 1835 the city’s population was only 5000, made up mostly of workers within the saltpeter industry and port laborers. As the nitrate industry grew, so did the population. The nitrate industry was an intrical reason for Iquique’s growth and wealth during the 1800’s. The Peruvians occupied Iquique until the War of the Pacific in 1879. During that year Chilean forces landed north of the area and defeated the Peruvian army subsequently laying claim to the city. The saltpeter industry prospered for forty years following Chile’s claim to the territory. Due to the growth of the export industry of saltpeter and nitrate, Iquique experienced an architectural makeover. 

Fishing later supplanted the saltpeter industry as the primary industry of Iquique. The first cannery was established in 1935 and the first fishmeal plant in 1950. Today, Iquique is a thriving city with a flourishing trade and colonial style architecture. In 1975 the establishment of a duty free zone was made, thus transforming it into one of Chile’s most prosperous cities. The city is recognized as one of the Norte Grande’s largest ports. The city’s population is in excess of 140,000 inhabitants.



Regional Museum
The museum is set in the city’s former courthouse and displays a collection of pre-Columbian artifacts and Indian ceramics. View the archaelogical exhibits offering an insight to the city's existence

Astoreca Palace
Built in 1904, the mansion is reflective of the wealth the area earned from the nitrate industry. While touring inside the mansion you will see the elaborate woodwork, stained glass windows and high ceilings throughout the elegant house. The mansion has its original furniture and its collection of paintings.  

Naval Museum
The colonial style customhouse was built in 1871. The customhouse once belonged to Peru during the War of the Pacific. During this time the Peruvians incarcerated prisoners from the battle of Iquique within the building. An interesting point to note is the building was originally constructed to be the gate into the city. The naval museum located next door contains exhibits of the Iquique Sea Battle and other historical events that took place during the city’s history.  

Ancient Aboriginal Art: The Pintados Geoglyphs
You will drive along the Pan-American Highway through the town of Pozo Almonte, once an important oasis in the surrounding desert. You can see the Tamarugal Forest, a natural forest reserve of tamarugo trees that appears as quite a surprise in the arid landscape. Finally, thirty miles further down the Highway, you will reach the Pintados Geoglyphs, one of the largest displays of ancient aboriginal art. Over 60,000 square yards of hill slopes are decorated by more than 400 figures depicting humans, animals, birds and abstract shapes, isolated or arranged into thematic groups. The Geoglyphs are estimated to date from AD 1000 to 1400.


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