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Chile is a country whose territory is characterized by being between the Andes Mountains on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other. In the central zone, where the Metropolitan region is located, the hills in the form of chains predominate, creating valleys in many sectors. The city of Santiago is located in one of them, where the urban space has developed rapidly in recent decades. One of these mountain ranges, which forms the Metropolitan Park of Santiago, crosses the capital and constitutes, without a doubt, an urban landmark that gives the city a special characteristic. As the city grows, this green space is reduced in proportion to the city, but at the same time, it grows in importance.
Currently, the Metropolitan Park, of 722 hectares, is made up of the San Cristóbal, Pirámide, Chacarillas and Los Gemelos hills; in addition to the sectors called Bosque Santiago, Tupahue, Mapulemu, Mahuidahue, among others. On the other hand, around 150 ha. they constitute urban parks that are distributed in various communes of Santiago such as the Mapuhue, Brasil, Mapocho Poniente, Cerro Blanco and Violeta Parra parks.
The Metropolitan Park is an extension of the Manquehue mountain range that emerges from the Andes Mountains. It is located in the Metropolitan Region and its climate is Mediterranean. It is the largest urban park in America. It is located to the northeast of the city center. This mountainous extension causes a division in the city, with differences in heights and a complex connectivity between the sectors of the city.
The large quarries that can be seen with the naked eye in the Park are the testimony of the exploitation of stones that were used to pave the streets of Santiago at the end of the 19th century. At the same time, almost all the native vegetation was cut down in order to turn it into firewood and charcoal. this action of man transformed the landscape and produced damaging effects on the entire ecosystem of the basin.
In 1870 Benjamín Vicuña Mackenna raised the possibility of converting, into public meeting spaces, the hills that were, on the other side of the river, at that time, on the outskirts of the city. Subsequently, Alberto Mackenna gave the great impulse to transform the San Cristóbal hill into a great green lung and the main promenade for the city. At that time the hill showed an image of an arid, abandoned place with a few thorns. Something similar to what we can see today in the hills of Renca and Chena.