Puerto Varas

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Puerto Varas
City and Commune
View of Puerto Varas with Osorno Volcano and Llanquihue Lake in the background.
View of Puerto Varas with Osorno Volcano and Llanquihue Lake in the background.
Flag
Flag
Coat of arms
Coat of arms
Location of Puerto Varas commune in Los Lagos Region
Location of Puerto Varas commune in Los Lagos Region
Puerto Varas is located in Chile
Puerto Varas
Puerto Varas
Location in Chile
Coordinates: 41°19′S 72°59′W / 41.317°S 72.983°W / -41.317; -72.983Coordinates: 41°19′S 72°59′W / 41.317°S 72.983°W / -41.317; -72.983
Country Chile
Region Los Lagos
Province Llanquihue
Founded as Puerto Varas
Founded 12 February 1854
Government[1]
 • Type Municipality
 • Alcalde Álvaro Berger Schmidt (PS)
Area[2]
 • Total 4,064.9 km2 (1,569.5 sq mi)
Elevation 5 m (16 ft)
Population (2012 Census)[2]
 • Total 37,561
 • Density 9.2/km2 (24/sq mi)
 • Urban 24,309
 • Rural 8,603
Demonym Puertovarino
Sex[2]
 • Men 16,645
 • Women 16,267
Time zone CLT (UTC−4)
 • Summer (DST) CLST (UTC−3)
Area code(s) 56 + 65
Website Official website (Spanish)

Puerto Varas is a city and commune located in the southern Chilean province of Llanquihue, in the Los Lagos Region.

The city is known for its German traditions,[3] its natural environment, and its popularity as a tourist destination, with a scenic location close to mountains, lakes and national parks.[4] It is located 20 kilometres (12 mi) from the city of Puerto Montt on the shore of Llanquihue Lake, the second largest lake in Chile. [5] The conical Osorno Volcano and the snowcapped peaks of Mt. Calbuco and Mt. Tronador are clearly visible from the lakefront. Puerto Varas is the southernmost of a string of towns on the western shore of Llanquihue Lake that includes Frutillar, Llanquihue and Puerto Octay. It spans an area of 4,064.9 km2 (1,569 sq mi).

Panoramic view of Puerto Varas

History[edit]

The city of Puerto Varas, also known as "La ciudad de las rosas" or “the city of roses”, dates back to 1853 and is named after Antonio Varas, the Minister of the Interior at the time. It was founded by German immigrants who settled the shores of Lake Llanquihue as part of a government colonization project during the presidency of Manuel Montt.[6]

The area known as the “Llanquihue Lake Colonization Territory” was created by the government on 27 June, 1853, and by the end of 1953, the first 212 German families had settled in what would be Puerto Varas.[7]

The first area to be settled was known as La Fabrica, where the road from Puerto Montt and the coast reached Llanquihue Lake. Other landmarks in its early history include the opening of a Catholic church in 1872 and the founding of the Club Aleman (“German Club”) in 1885. The town received official status in the form of a Título de Villa (“Town Certification”) in 1897. The commune of Puerto Varas, as it exists today, was formed in December 1925, when the Ministry of the Interior divided the country into provinces, and communes..[8]

Demographics[edit]

According to population projections from Chile’s National Statistics Institute, in 2012 the commune of Puerto Varas had 41,255 inhabitants (21,093 men and 20,162 women). The population had increased by 25% since the 2002 census.[9]


Architecture[edit]

German influence is visible in southern Chile: Puerto Varas Church

Puerto Varas is characterised by traditional German architecture, with houses built from alerce wood using tools brought over from Europe by the 19th century colonial inhabitants. It was designated a Zona Típica (heritage zone) in 1992 and has a number of protected buildings, including the Iglesia del Sagrado Corazón de Jesus (Sacred Heart of Jesus Church). Built in 1918 on one of the highest points in Puerto Varas, the wooden church is one of the city’s iconic landmarks. Other notable protected structures include Casa Kuschel (1915) and Casa Yunge (1932).[10]

Climate[edit]

Puerto Varas has a cool, wet, temperate climate with an average annual temperature of 10ºC - 13ºC and average rainfall of 1,200 mm - 3,000 mm.

Culture[edit]

Cultural institutions in Puerto Varas include the Antonio Felmer Museum, the Molino Machmar Art Centre, the Nativo Bosque Gallery[11] and the Pablo Fierro Museum.[12] Nearby Frutillar hosts the annual Frutillar Musical Weeks in January and February.

Cuisine[edit]

Baumkuchen, literally translated "tree cake" or "log cake"

Puerto Varas is known for traditional German dishes, especially Kuchen, which is celebrated on the annual Kuchen Day on the first Saturday of February.[13] Craft beers, pastries, cakes, chocolate and marmalades can also be found in the town’s shops, restaurants and cafes.

Tourism[edit]

Puerto Varas is a popular tourist destination with its distinctive German-inspired architecture, wide variety of hotels and inns, a casino, a beach and striking views over the lake to the Osorno and Calbuco volcanoes.

Visitors can take part in a range of outdoor sports including kayaking, fishing and trekking, and there is a winter ski centre on the slopes of Osorno Volcano. It is a good base for excursions to nearby natural landmarks including the emerald Todos los Santos Lake, the picturesque Petrohué Falls (Spanish: Saltos de Petrohué), Vicente Pérez Rosales National Park and Puyehue National Park as well as Osorno Volcano. Trips are also possible to other towns around Llanquihue Lake including [Frutillar]], Puerto Octay and Llanquihue.

Puerto Varas is the starting point for bus and boat crossings across the Andes to San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina.


Administration[edit]

As a commune, Puerto Varas is a third-level administrative division of Chile administered by a municipal council headed by an alcalde who is directly elected every four years. The 2012–2016 alcalde is Álvaro Berger Schmidt (PS).[1]

Within the electoral divisions of Chile, Puerto Varas is represented in the Chamber of Deputies by Fidel Espinoza (PS) and Felipe DeMussy Hiriart (UDI). It is part of the 56th electoral district, together with Puyehue, Río Negro, Purranque, Puerto Octay, Fresia, Frutillar, Llanquihue and Los Muermos. The commune is represented in the Senate by Rabindranath Quinteros (PS) and Iván Moreira (UDI) as part of the 17th senatorial constituency (Los Lagos Region).


References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Municipality of Puerto Varas" (in Spanish). Retrieved 1 January 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c "National Statistics Institute" (in Spanish). Retrieved 13 December 2010. 
  3. ^ (Spanish) Puerto Varas, 150 Años de Historia (1852 —2002)
  4. ^ El turismo en Puerto Varas se consolido en el verano 2013 SoyChile.cl, 3 March 2013, retrieved 18 January 2015
  5. ^ [1] Educar Chile, retrieved 18 January 2015
  6. ^ (Spanish) Varas, Su Historia PuertoVaras.org, retrieved 18 January, 2015.
  7. ^ (Spanish) Historia de Puerto Varas PuertoVaras.cl, retrieved 18 January, 2015.
  8. ^ History Infopuertovaras.com, retrieved 18 January 2015.
  9. ^ NSI Puerto Varas population report National Statistics Institute, retrieved 18 January 2015.
  10. ^ Colonial Architecture of Puerto Varas WelcomeChile.com, retrieved 18 January 2015.
  11. ^ Museums and Culture PuertoVaras.org, retrieved 18 January 2015.
  12. ^ Unique museum in southern Chile is a snapshot of the past ThisisChile.cl, retrieved 18 January 2015.
  13. ^ (Spanish) Día del Kuchen en Puerto Varas TurismoChile.com, retrieved 18 January 2015.

External links[edit]