The Dragon

a stable sand dune.

Cerro Dragón is a geographical and urban landmark made up of a large dune that is located in the coastal area of Norte Grande, Chile, within the city of Iquique.

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Dragon Hill from the Atacama desert escarpment above Iquique

April 18, 2005 it was declared a National Monument Nature Sanctuary. Approximately 4 kilometers long, 834.06 acres. Its location between the urban settlement of Iquique in the lower marine terrace and the growing urbanization of Alto Hospicio in the pampa, as well as its characteristics of open, imposing and original landscape, give the city of Iquique a unique identity.

By virtue of its peculiar characteristics, Cerro Dragón became a symbol for the Iquique community, which has internalized it in its collective imagination as a fundamental part of its territorial identity.

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References

I copied the Spanish text from a web site about this Iquique feature. My text is a translation from Google Translate.

Copyright 2020 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Saltpeter and Massacre

Father-son connection

Puerto Montt, port for the Lakes Region, and Iquique of the northern Atacama desert were linked when the Chilean Army massacred striking Saltpeter workers, their wive and children where they gathered in protest of poor working conditions, December 21, 1907. Over 15,000 were gathered when the Army opened fire. Death certificates for the victims were suppressed by the government, over 3,000 were buried in a common grave without ceremony in the city cemetery.

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Puerto Montt

The connection is father-son. Puerto Montt, founded by German immigrants and named for the president at the time, Manuel Montt, who invited German farmers suffering from a famine with the goal of populating the region. Montt was successful in this goal. In 1907 his son, Pedro’s first official act as newly elected president was, with Saltpeter production at a halt, to send the army to Iquique to suppress striking workers.

A steam locomotive stands apart from the monument,

Now, there is a monument to these workers, “Monumento al pampino salitrero,” above the city plain. Set apart and poorly maintained, trash strewn, is a nod to the importance of railroads for the transportation of the mined product. A few hundred feet away….

Northwest view of monument

….on a round-about is the monument.

Southeast view of monument

Fresh tribute wreaths are on the south side.

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References

Wikipedia – Saltpeter Workers of Chile, “Puerto Montt”, “Pedro Montt”, “Santa María School massacre”.

Copyright 2020 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Tourist vs. Everyday

appearance of reality

Baquedano crosses Manuel Bulnes and forms the east side of Arturo Prat plaza. It is a long avenue in the old quarter of Iquique, a popular tourist attraction and is a “typical zone,” a status that preserves its historical and architectural heritage. It is characterized by late 19th- and early 20th-century wooden houses. Baquedano Street was transformed by city government into an attractive pedestrian boulevard. The architecture that Baquedano Street exemplifies accommodates Iquique’s prevailing climatic conditions.

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The buildings on Baquedano Street and, in general, all those that follow the city’s traditional architecture, were built as stores or houses by immigrants who amassed fortunes through the nitrate works. The buildings typically show a continuous facade,a verticality and lightness. They are typically organized around a central nucleus and feature vestibules, verandas, skylights or lanterns, watchtowers, and a serial or “shady” roof over the terrace roof.

Above, a mixed series of homes. At left, a rundown, one-story timber structure with a “shady” roof intended to cool the interior. The bright blue and beige, at right, are cinder block, as is the following with the front door blocked open to let in the air, a very hot tin roof. Windows and first floor porches are heavily barred or fenced for security.

Northeast corner of Manuel Bulnes and Oscar Bonilla

A common theme here and in Lima, Peru: additional living space above an existing structure thrown together of cheap materials, half done (ran out of funds), no insulation.

Views of the city open up as we climb the escarpment to the desert plateau. In the foreground a tenement, cinder block homes, glittering skyscrapers with ocean views in the distance.

Click me for the first post of this series.

References

Wikipedia – “Baquedano Street“,

Copyright 2020 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved