April 18, 2021 #ChileDiverse #Life and Culture.

On the day of monuments and sites: a tour of some of the most unique of their kind

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As every year, this April 18 is the International Day for Monuments and Sites, which seeks to promote awareness of the diversity of heritage and the efforts required for its protection. Here is a tour of some unique monuments of its kind, according to the National Monuments Council: the oldest church in Chile, the viaduct that was once the highest in the world, the only lighthouse that points to the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, among others.

Chinchorro Mummies

The Chinchorro mummies found in the region of Arica and Parinacota are the oldest known in the world to date (6,000 to 2,000 BC). They bring to the present the developed religiosity of this culture and are in the process of being recognized as world heritage, after, in 2020, the Minister of Culture, Consuelo Valdés, signed the application file of the Chinchorro Culture settlements.

Mortuary practices, with an exhaustive knowledge of the environment for mummification, and the social complexity of this group of sedentary hunters and gatherers with great time depth, are some of the key attributes of this culture.

Cerro Dragón

Cerro Dragón is a geographical and urban landmark formed by a large dune located inside the city of Iquique (Tarapacá region), in northern Chile. It is 4 kilometers long and covers an area of 337.53 hectares, making it one of the largest urban dunes in the world.

The large dune that makes up Cerro Dragón stands out for being located inside a city and for the particularity of being located in a mainly rocky coastal area.

Atacama Giant

Located in the commune of Huara (Tarapacá region), in the middle of the Atacama Desert, this figure is the largest anthropomorphic geoglyph in the world, measuring almost 120 meters long. Located in Cerro Unita, it is presumed that this figure, along with the other 20 that accompany it, were made by cultures that inhabited the region between 1,000 and 1,400 A.D. as a way of worshipping divinities.

Mexico School Murals

In 1939 a strong earthquake shook the city of Chillán (Ñuble region), leaving nearly 10 thousand fatalities and a city covered with rubble. In an act of solidarity, the Mexican government sent Mexican muralists David Alfaro Siqueiros and Xavier Guerrero to the city of Chillán, with the mission of capturing the history of these two brother countries in the murals of the Escuela de México. The library located on the second floor houses the mural by David Alfaro Siqueiros entitled Muerte al invasor (Death to the invader), while in the entrance hall there is a series of smaller murals by the artist Xavier Guerrero.

Malleco Viaduct

At 102 meters high, the Malleco Viaduct, in the Araucanía region, was considered at the time the highest railway bridge in the world. Built between 1886 and 1890, it is one of the greatest works of metal engineering in Chile, and was constructed as part of a vast state program to extend the railroad network promoted by President José Manuel Balmaceda for the country's economic future.

Its length is 347.5 meters, divided into five equal spans of 69.5 meters. The bridge rests on its two end abutments and four intermediate piers, all of which are made of steel.

Church of San Francisco de Chiu Chiu

The Church of San Francisco de Asís de Chiu Chiu is a catholic temple located in the town of Chiu Chiu, 30 kms. east of the city of Calama (Antofagasta Region), at 2,525 meters above sea level. According to the parish archives, this church dates from before 1611, because by this date it was already constituted as such, being considered one of the oldest preserved in Chile.

Rock art in Patagonia

In the vicinity of Lake General Carrera (Aysén region), there are rock art manifestations that make up the so-called "Patagonian Art Style", which is the oldest in South America. Its best known representations are those of hands, scenes of guanacos and fretwork. Due to Patagonia's isolation from cultural currents, the basic characteristics of the style remained unchanged for millennia. This is demonstrated by the paintings of the Los Toldos rock shelter in central Patagonia, on the Atlantic coast, which are nearly 10,000 years old.

Dungeness Lighthouse

It is located on the northern shore of the Strait of Magellan, in the southernmost region of Chile, its structure reaches 25 meters in height and has a luminous range of 22 nautical miles. It was inaugurated in 1899, at a time when the Strait of Magellan was becoming increasingly important as a navigation route between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

The Dungeness Lighthouse is the only lighthouse that guides ships by illuminating the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean.

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