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

Tsunami Safety Zone

inundation

Iquique is a native word for “pleasant place.” It has no (NO!!) rainfall, though almost always cloudy with fogs. On the Pacific rim, sudden, unexpected inundation by water is a fact of life. At this point, the corner of Manuel Bulnes and Avenue of the Heroes of the Conception, the land is sloping up toward the escarpment, 125 feet above sea level, one mile from the ocean. Here we are “officially safe,” an oxymoron.

Twenty months prior Iquique was struck by an offshore earthquake, 8.2 magnitude, followed by a seven foot tsunami. Here, Matarani, Coquimbo, Valparaiso I was happy when we passed these signs (with English translations for us tourists). Traffic congestion would doom us if an earthquake/tsunami struck during the port/downtown transit.

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“We are now safe”

On this lot is a dwelling, haphazardly constructed of concrete blocks, evidence of desperate poverty. The fence signs (“Se Vende” — for sale) presage the leveling of this corner. Just this year, the street has seen riots…….

Click me for better experience viewing the following video. To do this from WordPress Reader, you need to first click the title of this post to open a new page. Note the replay icon (an arrow circling counter-clockwise.

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References

Wikipedia – “Iquique“, “2014 Iquique earthquake.”

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.

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References

Wikipedia – “Baquedano Street“,

Copyright 2020 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved