The second largest city in Chile, Concepción boasts a population of 900,000. It is the city of students and the capital of Chilean rock; old, but become new due to numerous natural disasters. Young people come here to learn Spanish: Concepción has great weather, friendly people and a lot of educational institutions.
Every year, the gallery attracts about 75 thousand visitors: it houses the largest collection of Chilean art objects in the country after the capital – about 1800 works. One of the most notable is the mural “Exploration of Latin America”.
How to get to Concepcion
Concepción can also be reached by air, but it is more interesting to go here by car, along the famous North-South Route 5, which connects Santiago with Chillan (about 5 hours drive). Behind Chillan is Route 152, Autopista del Itata, which takes about an hour to drive. A bus service links Concepción with Santiago, leaving every half an hour. By the way, this is generally the fastest form of public transport in Chile: unlike European ones, Chilean trains are a little scary, and traveling on them can take 2-3 times longer. By express bus, for example, EME, you will travel to Concepción no more than 6 hours.
According to countryvv, the city was founded in 1550 north of the Bio Bio River, in what is today known as Penko. Repeatedly Concepción was destroyed by earthquakes and tsunamis. After 1751, it was decided to move the city away from the sea, to its present location in the Mocha valley. In 1919, a university was opened there, which became the first private university in the country. And in the nearest harbor of Talcajuano, the largest naval base in the country has been set up so far.
According to allcountrylist, Chile is an earthquake-prone country, and Concepción is no exception. In 1939, an earthquake destroyed most of the city, in 1953 – about 15% of urban development. In 2010, the city was hit by an 8.8 magnitude earthquake, which destroyed a huge number of buildings. Many residents suffered, and prisoners began to flee from the partially destroyed prison.
Entertainment and attractions of Concepción
Alas, many ancient buildings, such as the beautiful cathedral of the city, were destroyed by numerous natural disasters, and today the historical heritage of Concepción is barely traced in the few survivors. The city center is built up mainly with buildings of the German architectural school of the first third of the 20th century – the Bauhaus. After the cataclysms, many German architects were engaged in the restoration of Concepción: both living in Chile and invited. And the main city sights belong mainly to the new time. But they are also worth attention; and even more so around the city.
The Cathedral of Santissima Concepción, which faces Independence Square, began to be built after the destruction of the old cathedral, but was officially opened only in 1964. This is a small neo-Romanesque church of noble outlines and restrained gray color. Its interior also deserves attention: here you can see Venetian enamel of the 17th century, an ivory filigree crucifix and several other valuable items. At the cathedral there is a museum of religious art.
Moored at the military base in Talcajuano is the Huascar, a ship that was captured during the Pacific War with Chile. It is a symbol of Chilean national pride and, by some estimates, is the oldest floating craft in the world still afloat. Now the ship is a museum.
3 things to do in Concepción:
- Take a walk along Cape Hualpen, reaching the white sandy beach of Ramuncho.
- Order a traditional Pisco Sour cocktail in one of the city’s many bars. Those who wish can limit themselves to beer from the south of the country, once inhabited by Germans.
- Visit the coastal town of Tome, which is a half-hour bus ride from the center: it has an excellent beach.
Concepción is a student city: it has three public and about a dozen private universities; a dozen more vocational institutes and countless high schools. Naturally, the city is full of young people from all over the country and from abroad. Thanks to this, it is easy to communicate in English here. The University of Concepción is set in a large beautiful garden and is distinguished by a tall and slender clock tower.
A separate visit is the Pinacoteca on the university campus – the city art museum, “Casa del Arte”. It is located on the corner of Chacabuco and Larenas, overlooking Piazza Peru. The building itself is interesting enough, with a beautiful Art Nouveau façade and a neoclassical rear (the result of the 1960 earthquake). Every year, the gallery attracts about 75 thousand visitors: it houses the largest collection of Chilean art objects in the country after the capital – about 1800 works. One of the most notable is the Exploration of Latin America mural by Mexican artist Jorge González Camarena, created in 1964-1965. This is a huge wall painting with an area of about 300 square meters. m, made with acrylic. The amazing work was recognized by the state as a national landmark of Chile.
Collective taxis “collective” – the Chilean analogue of our minibuses.
Those who are interested in shopping can be advised to come to the Plaza Trebol mall, which is on the highway in Talcajuano. This is a huge North American shopping and entertainment center, which can be reached by bus from the city center or by a collective taxi. A smaller version of it, the Plaza Mirador Bio-Bio Mall, is located within the city, on Los Carrera Street. The third major mall, and also in the center, is called “Mall del Centro”. The best urban-themed souvenirs can be bought at El Pueblito and Feeria Artesanal del Bio Bio, located one block in the city center. Finally, in Concepción there is “Galerias” – a variety of shops in the arcades that stretch along Barros Arana and Maipu near Independence Square (Arms). Here you can find many shops with clothes of mediocre quality, but also of the corresponding cost:
Fans of Mediterranean resorts will love Vaia’s Gyros: as the name suggests, this eatery prepares Greek shawarma analogues and salads. Also a good place to have a bite to eat is the central city market: there are a lot of small restaurants serving good quality seafood and other Chilean dishes.
Concepción is a fairly safe city, although, as elsewhere in megacities, there are enough pickpockets here. Nevertheless, you should not look into the areas of the port of Talcajuano and Hulapena in the evening, especially on the weekend. In addition, tourists are advised to refrain from discussing the political history of Chile in recent decades: do not mention Pinochet and Allende in a conversation, Chileans can perceive these topics very nervously.
Pedro del Rio Zagnartu Park is located 10 minutes from the city center and is the best place in Concepción to watch the sunset. You can only get here by car or taxi, to the Hualpen Museum, from which you can walk about 3 km to the beach. But here you will have the most beautiful and peaceful view of the mouth of the Bio-Bio River, where it flows into the Pacific Ocean, and the amazing coast with black sand. The museum itself in the park is also quite interesting: it contains a variety of archaeological and historical artifacts, as well as natural curiosities.
Another good place to relax is the Ecuador Park, an elongated strip of greenery that stretches at the foot of the Caracol hill. Climbing up one of the two alleys (they continue Kaupolikan and Tukapel streets), you will find yourself on the observation deck, which offers wonderful views of the city.
Surroundings of Concepción
40 km south of Concepción is the ancient mining town of Lota, where you can take a guided descent into an old coal mine. And near Lot is Chisilingo, the first power plant in Chile. Today, a good museum is open here, where it is curious to look at old flywheels and other steam-punk accessories; and there is a picnic area on site.
From Concepción it is convenient to take a trip to Alto Bio Bio, in the Andes. Travel companies organize such trips on a turnkey basis – with guides, food, overnight stays, getting to know the locals and visiting huts and corrals. But the same can be done on your own.