(Because in a year I'm going to LIVE THERE (YEEP))
  1. Valparaíso first came to prominence as a shipping port, a vital stop for trade crossing the Atlantic and Pacific via the Straits of Magellan.
  2. Valparaíso is a highly multicultural city; blending mestizo Chilean culture with a longstanding European immigrant tradition.
  3. The opening of the Panama Canal in 1914 almost spelled death for the city.
  4. But there has been a major renaissance there!
  5. The city is home to four major universities as well as several smaller colleges and technical schools:
  6. Universidad Técnica Federico Santa María
  7. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso
  8. Universidad de Playa Ancha de Ciencias de la Educación
  9. Universidad de Valparaíso
  10. Valparaíso is also the home of the Chilean National Congress!
  11. The city also boasts the world's oldest continually published Spanish newspaper, El Mercurio de Valparaíso.
  12. The funicular railways of Valparaíso allow access to the steep slopes surrounding the city.
  13. The buildings and street art of Valparaíso are extravagantly colorful.
  14. Salvador Allende and Augusto Pinochet are both from Valparaíso.
    If you know your Latin American history, you understand why this is sorta ironic.
  15. The city is extremely vulnerable to earthquakes.
    ...Considering the entire country is one gigantic fault line.
  16. Carlos Van Buren Hospital is named after an American-Chilean doctor who helped the city after a massive earthquake in 1906.
  17. Valparaíso is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  18. (PS thank you Wikipedia for this list)