Punta Arenas

Punta Arenas has a population of 123.041 inhabitants, is the oldest and largest city of Patagonia. It was founded in 1848 along the Strait of Magellan, the largest natural sea passage between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, a crossroad for ancient sailors, pirates and now, almost extinct aboriginal tribes.

The rich history of Punta Arenas has resulted in a fascinating nineteenth century architecture. Around the main square there are buildings that stand out like the cathedral, the Government House, the traditional Cabo de Hornos Hotel, Sara Braun Palace and José Menéndez Residence. All of them have been declared National monuments. The past of these mansions of the nineteenth and early twentieth century, is closely related to the origins of the southern population. The former mansion of Sara Braun, houses today the Hotel José Nogueira, superbly set in the heroic age of the pioneers, but with all the comforts of modern high standard hospitality.

Located opposite of the famous “Munoz Gamero” Square, the palace was built between 1895 and 1905, design by the French architect Numa Mayer, hired by Sara Braun after the death of her husband, the successful Portuguese businessman José Nogueira.

The building has a neoclassical style, with bricks masonry on top of a stones foundation. This two stories mansions had on its first floor the music hall, the golden room, dining room and billiards room, while on the second floor the bedrooms and the library where located. Materials, furniture and decorative objects were brought from Europe.

Location

Punta Arenas is the southern most city and port of Chile. Its located 3.090 kilometers south of Santiago, the capital.

With a 1382033,5 km2 surface and a population of 123.041 inhabitants, the capital of the Magallean Region is the mayor urban center of the area, with approximately only a 20% percent of rural population.

Climate

Punta Arenas can be visited all year round.

The city average annual rain fall is 425mm, concentrated during spring and summer, winter is present with snow and temperatures dropping below 0 º C.

This area presents constant winds, becoming stronger during spring and summer. During summertime the average temperatures oscillates in between 14 and 20 º C

One characteristic of the southern climate is the oscillation of day light hours, been reduced in winter and everlasting long in summer, reaching 18 hours approx. of daylight during December, a perfect moment to enjoy the city and its attractions.

History

In the English sailing charts that were produced by different expeditions, this area was called Sandy Point. This is the origin of its current name, Punta Arenas, a region that got the interest from the government due to the commerce movement passing through the Strait of Magellan.

José Nogueira and Sara Braun, main characters of the pioneers´ history in the region.

José Nogueira landed in 1866 in Punta Arenas, by then a village with few inhabitants, becoming one of the first settlers of the Magellan territory. He managed to built a great wealth with the hunting of sea lions in the archipelagos of Fireland (Tierra del fuego), commodities exploitations, commerce, ship building and livestock , becoming the most important businessman of the region.