Santiago, known as Santiago de Chile, is the capital and largest city of Chile as well as one of the largest cities in the Americas.
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Santiago's cityscape is shaped by several stand-alone hills and the fast-flowing Mapocho River, lined by parks such as Parque Forestal and Balmaceda Park.
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The city outskirts are surrounded by vineyards and Santiago is within an hour of both the mountains and the Pacific Ocean.
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Santiago is the political and financial center of Chile and is home to the regional headquarters of many multinational corporations.
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Santiago Basin is part of the Intermediate Depression and is remarkably flat, interrupted only by a few "island hills;" among them are Cerro Renca, Cerro Blanco, and Cerro Santa Lucia.
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Natural vegetation of Santiago is made up of a thorny woodland of Vachellia caven and Prosopis chilensis in the west and an association of Vachellia caven and Baccharis paniculata in the east around the Andean foothills.
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Santiago's rainfall is highly variable and heavily influenced by the El Nino Southern Oscillation cycle, with rainy years coinciding with El Nino events and dry years with La Nina events.
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The 1647 Santiago earthquake devastated the city, and inspired Heinrich von Kleist's novel, The Earthquake In Chile.
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Two faults in particular, San Ramon and El Arrayan, in the east and north of Santiago respectively have been singled out as being particularly dangerous.
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Growth of Santiago has undergone several changes over the course of its history.
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Santiago is served by Eulogio Sanchez Airport, a small, privately owned general aviation airport in the commune of La Reina.
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An extensive network of streets and avenues stretching across Santiago facilitate travel between the different communities that make up the metropolitan area.
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Taxicabs are common in Santiago and are painted black with yellow roofs and have orange license plates.
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The road General Velasquez and sections of the Pan-American Highway in Santiago were converted into the Autopista Central, while Americo Vespucio became variously the highways Vespucio Norte Express and Vespucio Sur, as well as Vespucio Oriente in the future.
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Greater Santiago lacks a metropolitan government for its administration, which is distributed between authorities, complicating the operation of the city as a single entity.
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Close by is the Municipal Theatre of Santiago, which was built in 1857 by the French architect Brunet of Edward Baines.
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Santiago is home to some of Chile's most successful football clubs.
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Several other football clubs are based in Santiago, including Union Espanola, Audax Italiano, Palestino, Santiago Morning, Magallanes and Barnechea.
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Santiago hosted the final stages of the official 1959 Basketball World Cup, where Chile won the bronze medal.
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Santiago is part of the Union of Ibero-American Capital Cities from 12 October 1982.
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