Santiago, being the capital city of Chile, is a big city. The city was founded and named Santiago de Nueva Estremadura on Feb. 12, 1541, by Pedro de Valdivia. Santiago has spread over a broad valley plain and is today one of the largest cities in South America. Low foothills surround the valley, and the snowcapped Andes, forming a beautiful backdrop, rise in the eastern distance. For most of the year the climate is nice: warm days and cool nights.
Santiago is the political, commercial, and financial heart of the country, although Valparaiso has been the seat of the Chilean congress since 1990. Much of Chile’s industry is distributed among other cities, but Santiago is an active manufacturing center. Textiles, foodstuffs, clothing, footwear, and other goods are produced. There are also large iron and steel foundries in the city, which has a subway and an international airport.
The industries are heavily felt. If you climb up to a view point in the city you will not be able to see very far in certain parts of the year. The smog is so heavy that even the mountains are hidden. So although I actually like Santiago a lot: the Chileans are very nice and the city (apart from the occasional demonstrations) is orderly, courteous and feels pretty safe, I would not like to live there. Having gone through a pollution emergency crisis in Thailand in 2007, I will never again live in a country with such heavy pollution – regardless of the salary – my health is priceless!!