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Historic Quarter of the Seaport City of Valparaíso

Historic Quarter of the Seaport City of Valparaíso

The colonial city of Valparaíso presents an excellent example of late 19th-century urban and architectural development in Latin America. In its natural amphitheatre-like setting, the city is characterized by a vernacular urban fabric adapted to the hillsides that are dotted with a great variety of church spires. It contrasts with the geometrical layout utilized in the plain. The city has well preserved its interesting early industrial infrastructures, such as the numerous ‘elevators’ on the steep hillsides.

Quartier historique de la ville portuaire de Valparaiso

La ville coloniale de Valparaíso offre un exemple de développement urbain et architectural de la fin du XIXe siècle en Amérique latine. Dans son cadre naturel en forme d’amphithéâtre, la ville se caractérise par un tissu urbain vernaculaire adapté aux collines, en contraste avec le dessin géométrique employé en plaine, et présente une unité formelle sur laquelle se détache une grande diversité de clochers d’églises. Valparaíso a bien préservé d’intéressantes infrastructures du début de l’ère industrielle, tels les nombreux « funiculaires » à flanc de colline.

الحيّ التاريخي لمدينة فال براييسو البحرية

تمثل مدينة فال براييسو المستعمرة نموذجاً عن التطور الحضري والهندسي في نهاية القرن التاسع عشر في أميركا اللاتينية. تتخذ هذه المدينة شكل المدرّج وتتميّز بنسيج حضري محلي متكيّف مع التلال، بينما تتباين مع الرسم الهندسي المطبق في السهول، وهي بذلك تشكّل وحدة متكاملة تتخللها مجموعة متنوعة من قبب الأجراس. وقد نجحت مدينة فال براييسو في الحفاظ على بعض البنى التحتية المهمة التي ترقى إلى مطلع العصر الصناعي، على غرار العديد من "المصاعد السلكية" عند منحدر التلال.

source: UNESCO/ERI

瓦尔帕莱索港口城市历史区

瓦尔帕莱索殖民城市是19世纪晚期拉丁美洲城市和建筑发展的典范。城市地理位置如同一个圆形露天剧场,布局非常有特色,山腰上到处可见本国的城市建筑,其中还点缀着星罗棋布的教堂尖塔,在平地部分则采用几何布局。瓦尔帕莱索还完好保存了一些早年有趣的工业基础设施,例如陡峭山坡上不计其数的“起卸机”。

source: UNESCO/ERI

Историческая часть портового города Вальпараисо

Колониальный город Вальпараисо представляет собой прекрасную иллюстрацию развития градостроительства и архитектуры в Латинской Америке конца XIX в. Город расположен в естественном природном амфитеатре, и некоторые его кварталы построены на крутых склонах прилегающих холмов, где на общем фоне выделяются многочисленные и различающиеся по форме шпили церквей. Это контрастирует с геометрической планировкой, примененной на равнине. В городе сохранились образцы ранее созданной инженерной инфраструктуры, включая многочисленные подъемники, преодолевающие крутые склоны холмов.

source: UNESCO/ERI

Barrio histórico de la ciudad portuaria de Valparaíso

La ciudad colonial de Valparaíso constituye un ejemplo notable del desarrollo urbano y arquitectónico de América Latina a finales del siglo XIX. Enmarcada en un sitio natural en forma de anfiteatro, la ciudad se caracteriza por un tejido urbanístico tradicional especialmente adaptado a las colinas circundantes, que contrasta con el trazado geométrico utilizado en terreno llano. En su paisaje urbano, dotado de unidad formal, se yergue una gran variedad de campanarios de iglesias. La ciudad ha conservado interesantes estructuras de los inicios de la era industrial, por ejemplo los múltiples funiculares que recorren las escarpadas laderas de las colinas.

source: UNESCO/ERI

バルパライーソの海港都市の歴史的街並み 

source: NFUAJ

Historische wijk van de havenstad Valparaíso

Valparaíso is de op een na grootste stad in Chili en ligt aan de Pacifische kust, zo’n 100 kilometer ten noorden van Santiago. De koloniale stad getuigt qua stadsontwerp en architectuur van de vroege globalisering in de late 19e eeuw, toen het een van de grootste handelshavens van Zuid-Amerika werd. Valparaíso heeft een natuurlijke amfitheaterachtige omgeving en wordt gekenmerkt door een stedelijk karakter dat zich heeft aangepast aan de heuvels die zijn bezaaid met een grote verscheidenheid aan kerktorens. De stad heeft zijn interessante vroeg industriële infrastructuren – zoals de talrijke ‘liften’ op de steile hellingen – weten te behouden.

Source: unesco.nl

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Historic Quarter of the Seaport City of Valparaíso © Rodrigo Varas
Outstanding Universal Value

Brief Synthesis

Located on central Chile’s Pacific coast, the Historic Quarter of the Seaport City of Valparaíso represents an extraordinary example of industrial-age heritage associated with the international sea trade of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The city was the first and most important merchant port on the sea routes of the Pacific coast of South America that linked the Atlantic and Pacific oceans via the Strait of Magellan. It had a major commercial impact on its region from the 1880s until the opening of the Panama Canal in 1914. After this date its development slowed, allowing its harbour and distinctive urban fabric to survive as an exceptional testimony to the early phase of globalisation.

Valparaíso’s historic quarter is located on the coastal plain and part way up the steep surrounding hills, where the city first developed. It is composed of five interlaced neighbourhoods: La Matriz Church and Santo Domingo Square, located between the hills and the plain and comprised of the church and late 19th-century buildings typical of the seaport architecture; Echaurren Square and Serrano Street, predominantly commercial in character and marked by the presence of the Port Market, commercial establishments and active street trade; Prat Pier and Sotomayor and Justicia squares, comprising the main transversal axis of the area and containing the largest public spaces; the Prat Street and Turri Square area around the foothill, featuring a number of examples of monumental architecture; and the two hills of Cerro Alegre and Cerro Concepción, a single neighbourhood planned and developed to a large extent by German and English immigrants, with squares, viewing points, promenades, alleyways, stairways and the top stations of some of Valparaíso’s distinctive funicular elevators.

The outstanding nature of the historic quarter of Valparaíso results from a combination of three factors, all associated with its role as a port: its particular geographical and topographical environment; its urban forms, layout, infrastructure and architecture; and its attraction to and influence by people from around the world. The character of Valparaíso was strongly marked by the geography of its location: the bay, the narrow coastal plains (largely artificial) and the steep hills scored by multiple ravines together created the city’s amphitheatre-like layout. Adaptation of the built environment to these difficult geographical conditions produced an innovative and creative urban ensemble that stressed the particularities of each architectural object, grounded in the technological and entrepreneurial mindset typical of the era. Consistent with its pre-eminence, the city was populated and influenced by people from around the world. The urban fabric and cultural identity of Valparaíso are thus distinguished by a diversity that sets it apart from other Latin American cities. From an urban perspective, the result of this challenging geography, modernizing impulse and intercultural dialogue is a fully original American city with the stamp of the late 19th century upon it.

Criterion (iii) Valparaíso is an exceptional testimony to the early phase of globalisation in the late 19th century, when it became the leading commercial port on the sea routes of the Pacific coast of South America.

Integrity

Within the boundaries of the property are located all the elements necessary to express the Outstanding Universal Value of the Historic Quarter of the Seaport City of Valparaíso, including the urban layout, public spaces and buildings, which range from very simple houses to monumental buildings in a variety of construction techniques, styles and adaptations to the landscape; the port and naval heritage as exemplified by Prat Pier and the customs and naval services buildings; the transportation infrastructure, including funicular elevator and trolley systems typical of the period; and a number of expressions of intangible heritage, all of which illustrate the historic quarter of the seaport city of Valparaíso’s leading role in the global commercial trade associated with the late 19th century industrial era. Without minimising the conservation challenges inherent to a living port city, the property has maintained its integrity.

Authenticity

The Historic Quarter of the Seaport City of Valparaíso is substantially authentic in terms of the ensemble’s forms and designs, materials and substances, uses and functions, and location and setting. It has largely retained the key features of its heyday in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including its urban elements, its architecture, its transportation systems and parts of its port infrastructure. These essential features are authentic and have been maintained with an eye to continuity of use and function as well as construction techniques. The relationship of the property with the landscape, and in particular the ‘amphitheatre’ layout, has also been maintained.

The historic quarter of Valparaíso nevertheless has challenges to maintain its authenticity, particularly in relation to conservation and planning control. Damage to several buildings due to a fire in 2007 and a major earthquake in 2010 is being addressed.

Protection and Management Requirements

The Historic Quarter of the Seaport City of Valparaíso, a mixture of public and private properties, is administered through the Municipal Heritage Management Department, which is specifically responsible for overseeing the management of the property. The 23.2-ha property and much of its 44.5-ha buffer zone are designated a National Monument, and are therefore overseen by the National Monuments Council of Chile. The Ministry of Housing and Urban Development also supervises the entire area by virtue of the Historic Preservation Zone established in the area, which extends beyond the boundaries of both the property and the buffer zone. This Zone covers two-thirds of the city, with reference to both the natural amphitheatre that characterises the entire urban area (defined by Avenida Alemania – the 100-m level – from Cerro Playa Ancha to Cerro Esperanza), and the City Plan (area of El Almendral).

To respond to challenges in relation to conservation and planning control and to sustain the Outstanding Universal Value of the property, a comprehensive Management and Conservation Plan for the property is in the process of elaboration. It reconciles the Communal Regulating Plan with the property’s National Monument status, and addresses related urban planning and regulation issues, visual integrity, heritage/development balances, strategic guidelines (including economic and financial initiatives) and monitoring systems.

Sustaining the Outstanding Universal Value of the property over time will require completing, approving and implementing the comprehensive Management and Conservation Plan for the property, and ensuring financial resources for conservation. The recovery and enhancement of the sectors that are depressed and have social problems are of particular importance. Moreover, it will be necessary to reconcile economic development efforts (both tourism and commercial) with the special character of these sectors, and with the concerns of their traditional population. Attention also needs to be paid to safeguarding the infrastructure related to the historic functions of the harbour and the underwater heritage and ensuring the sustainability of traditional transportation systems (funicular elevators and trolley cars). Known and potential threats and risks must also be addressed, including the infrastructure of basic services (water, gas, electricity), the vulnerabilities of materials (the threat from xylophagous insects, for example), as well as natural disasters (earthquakes, floods, fires).

Long Description

The city of Valparaíso, the second largest in Chile, is exceptional testimony to the early phase of globalization in the late 19th century. It is located on the Pacific coast some 100 km north of Santiago, in the centre of the country. The geography of Valparaíso consists of a bay, a narrow coastal plain and a series of hills. The World Heritage site is located between the sea and the first terrace, in the area where the city first developed; it comprises part of the plain and surrounding hills, and is composed of five interlaced neighbourhoods:

  1. La Matríz Church and Santo Domingo Square lies between the hills and the plain. It is spatially linked with Plaza Echaurren and its surroundings, as well as with Cerro Santo Domingo. The architecture of La Matríz Church (1842), Valparaíso's founding church, although rebuilt four times after destruction by pirates and earthquakes, is typical transition between colonial and republican styles.It is surrounded by late 19th-century buildings, typical of the seaport architecture. The Plaza La Matríz is the centre of Valparaíso's most traditional religious activities.
  2. Echaurren Square and Serrano Street has a predominantly commercial character, marked by the presence of the Port Market, commercial establishments, and active street trade. The buildings represent three types: 'block building' or 'island building', facing four streets; 'head building', facing three streets; and buildings facing two streets. The most outstanding among the block-buildings is the Astoreca Building (1906), built for commercial and residential purposes in a symmetrical and orthogonal order.
  3. Prat Pier, Sotomayor and Justicia Squares and the Sea Museum Quarter comprises the main transversal axis of the area and has the largest public spaces. The square is surrounded by administrative and service buildings of different periods and styles. The Sea Museum, at the top of Cerro Cordillera, stands on the site of the old San José Castle, a fortress built to repel the attacks of corsairs and pirates.
  4. The Prat Street and Turri Square area evolves around the foothill and stretches out from Plaza Sotomayor to the beginning of Esmeralda Street, encompassing the Plazuela Turri as a singular public space. The area presents the markedly rectangular block characteristic of the plain, as well as its typical buildings, with frontage towards two or three streets. The buildings are examples of monumental architecture in their volume and formal expression.
  5. The two hills of Cerro Alegre and Cerro Concepción, separated by Urriola Street, form a single neighbourhood. To a large extent, this was planned and developed by German and English immigrants, starting from the first half of the 19th century. The area combines the different types of public space of Valparaíso: squares, viewing points, promenades, alleyways, stairways, the elevators' top stations, and the havens usually formed by street intersections and bifurcations.

Valparaíso used to have as many as 30 elevators, the oldest of which, the Concepción Elevator, was inaugurated in 1883. Generally, they have two wooden or metal cars, moving simultaneously in opposite directions. They are mounted on a platform to which are attached the wheels.

The territory was originally inhabited by Chango Indians, who lived on farming and fishing. The site was discovered by Juan de Saavedra in 1536, and the settlement was founded by Pedro de Valdivia in 1544, and it was designated the first port of the nation in 1554. After a disastrous earthquake in 1730, the inhabitants were forced to move on to the hillsides, thus developing the most characteristic feature of the town. From this time on, most of the settlement developed over the hills. The main economic resource gradually shifted from wheat to saltpetre. Following this development, the town was articulated into areas characterized by their principal activities, such as commerce, harbour, industry and business.

Source: UNESCO/CLT/WHC
Historical Description

The territory was originally inhabited by Chango Indians, who lived on farming and fishing. The site of Valparaíso in the Valley of Quintil, on the Pacific coast, was discovered by Juan de Saavedra in 1536. The settlement was founded by Pedro de Valdivia in 1544, and it was designated the first port of the nation in 1554. The settlement developed first in the areas known as Juna Gomez (today Carampangue), San Francisco, and San Agustin. At the end of the 16th century, a road connection was built from Valparaíso to Santiago. The Spanish immigrants introduced the Catholic faith, and built the first chapel in the settlement village, at the foot of the San Francisco ravine. The church of La Matríz was built there in 1658, followed by the construction of the fortresses. At this time, other religious orders arrived, including the Augustinians and the Franciscans, and the settlement started taking shape. The commercial centre and the warehouses occupied the main coastal area. The opening of Cape Horn meant intensive wheat trading from Valparaíso to El Callao in the 18th century. The urban layout developed mainly around two focal points, the seaport with the commercial centre, and the Almendral beach area with farmhouses and small businesses. After a disastrous earthquake in 1730, the inhabitants were forced to move on the hillsides, thus developing the most characteristic feature of the town. From this time on, most of the settlement developed over the hills.

With the independence of Chile in 1810, Valparaíso soon became the most important harbour town on the Pacific coast. This meant commercial transactions with Europe as well as with the United States, ending Chile's dependence on Spain. Around 1839-40, Valparaíso was granted independent administrative status as an Intendencia, and in 1842 it became the capital of the Province of Valparaíso, with fiscal warehouses and the Stock Exchange. At this time, the town attracted great numbers of immigrants from England, France, Germany, and the United States, contributing to the development of shipping and commerce. This influence can still be appreciated on the streets at the foot of hills in Arsenal (now Bustamante), La Planchada (now Serrano), La Aduana (now Prat) and Del Cabo (now Esmeralda). The city acquired a cosmopolitan image. In the 1840s and 1850s, more warehouses were built between the present Aduana Square and the Duprat fortress. In 1852, a railway was built to the inner cities of the region and to the capital, Santiago.

In the second half of the 19th century, the position of Valparaíso was further strengthened as the main harbour and commercial centre of the country, and its activities included mining activities with Tarapaca and Antofagasta. The main economic resource gradually shifted from wheat to saltpetre. Following this development, the town was articulated into areas characterized by their principal activities, such as commerce, harbour, industry, and business. The streets of Planchada and Aduana were the main areas for diplomatic missions, banks, and international agencies. Between 1847 and 1870, Valparaíso attained its characteristic identity as a commercial and financial centre. The town expanded, and the chain of hills was connected by the Cintura highway some 100 m above the sea, based on the project by Fermin Vivaceta in 1872.

In 1903, the electrical train system started operating, providing the first change to the 19th century urban environment. In 1906, a violent earthquake struck the region, causing damage especially in the downtown area, and leading to substantial reconstruction programmes. In addition, the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the national independence gave a further incentive to erect public, commercial, and private buildings of high quality. In 1914, however, the opening of the Panama Channel meant that Valparaíso lay aside from the great commercial routes between the two oceans. The economic crisis of saltpetre reduced the importance of the port, and, at the same time, Santiago consolidated its status as the political and economic centre of the country. The world economic crisis in 1929 further contributed to the change. Nevertheless, Valparaíso continued its development, even though facing serious social and economic problems. As a result, solutions were sought, and new construction activities expanded in the upper zones of the city, including the areas of Juan Gomez, San Francisco, San Juan de Dios, and de Jaime, the present Francia Avenue.

Source: Advisory Body Evaluation