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We decided to take a day trip to Valparaiso a couple of days after our arrival in Santiago, Chile two weeks ago. We took the Tur Bus (which is located adjacent to the Universidad de Santiago metro station) to Valparaiso which took a little over an hour to get there and cost less than 10.00 USD.
Valparaiso is a port city that is built on a hill. It reminds me a lot of San Francisco with its winding, unforgivably hilly terrain. In order to navigate the city, a series of sharply inclined cable cars, also known as Funiculars, were built to move people and parcels between the port and the highest peak.
The construction of the Panama Canal in the early 20th century made this port nearly obsolete and had a devastating effect on the economy and there was little need for the elevators since the population began to decline as a result.
Today, there is only one out of fourteen that is still in operation, but there is a move afoot by local civil engineers to restore them. It was interesting seeing a piece of history standing stark and alone with so many wonderful stories to tell. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that soon, they will all begin to tell new ones.
This post is part of Travel Photo Thursday at Budget Travelers Sandbox
I was in the exact spot 18 months ago. What a pretty city and I do hope they get restored – a very civilized way to get up the hills.
Surely, these funiculars would be of service to locals too. But then, if even the locals have not missed its services, it would be unlikely any financial effort would be taken to get them running again.
Debbie Beardsley says
Interesting post. Its always those unforeseen consequences that get us, isn’t it?
Oh wow, that is crazy. I would love to see it all restored one day!
There’s a really cool Funicular in Quebec City. Would love to see this one though.
Cathy Sweeney says
I think that funiculars are a great form of transportation (and sometimes quite fun. This one in Santiago really looks interesting. Cool pic!
Cathy Sweeney says
oops — meant Valparaiso.
That looks kind of like a weird elevator 🙂 And it reminds me of the short funiculaire that brings you up to Montmartre.
Diana May says
This is exactly what I was thinking of! Looks just like the one that goes to Montmartre, except this one in Valparaiso shows its age.
Funiculars are wonderful. I’ve taken the one in Quebec City many times. I haven’t been to South America yet, but I am always impressed by the great color I see when people post photos.
Welcome back to Travel Photo Thursday!
I hope they get them restored- what a fun way to travel!
Reminds me of the funicular in Lisbon. Too bad this one in Valparaiso isn’t operating anymore – but since the infrastructure is still there, I suppose hope remains, eh?
I think it would be fantastic if they were restored, correct me if i am wrong but does that one go under the road?
It would be lovely to have them restored. For some reason, Renee, I wasn’t able tweet your post either from the sharebar or from the retweet link.
Nicholle Olores says
I agree,that is really weird kind of elevator I never saw like this before. By the way, this travel photo is unique and I appreciate it.
Jeremy Branham says
I think these are awesome. They have these in Lisbon as well. Lisbon may be the closest city to San Francisco I’ve visited. They even have their own Golden Gate Bridge!
I would love to visit Chile as I have some old connections there.
Oh Funiculars! You’re very luck to have found one! Did you get to ride it?
That’s exciting! Riding in a funicular is so cool! I’ve ride it once. It’s nice to experience it once in awhile.
Scott - Quirky Travel Guy says
I like those sorts of inclines because they are so rare. Pittsburgh has a couple that are used to move people up and down the hillsides.
I was just in Valparaiso a few months ago and LOVED the funiculars! I’ve seen them in other places but never so many in one city! Such a great idea for hilly cities in the days pre-automobile! I was also disappointed that so few are still in operation and I hope that they are able to keep them going (though I saw signs for protests objecting to one more proposed closure–I think the one that goes up the hill by the naval museum?) But I hope they are able to preserve them!
Perfect choice! I think the hilly area is more exciting than any other spot and hiking is a very thrilling act for the tourists. I went such a place and tried to climb on a lower high and I did it finally! It was really awesome experience. I hope you’ve enjoyed the Valparaiso trip much. I’m waiting for your next updates with some bits of it. Good luck Renee.
That was awesome experience. I never seen such that cable car, must be a great experience if I can ride that cable cars.
I think they should restore them as their unique history.
Wish to go there.