Located 404 km from Santiago, in the Bio Bio region, Chillan is a city and commune of Chile’s Centro Sur (Southern Centre). It is the capital of Nuble province and is known as “La Cuna de la Patria” (The birthplace of the Motherland).
Chillan was founded on 26 June 1580 on the north bank of the Chillan River, and it was Martin Ruiz de Gamboa, general captain and governor of Chile at the time, who originally gave it the name San Bartolome.
It is a city that is very representative in Chilean history, as well as being an area well-known for cultural activities, thanks to its wide range of museums, murals and artistry. The friendliness of its people also adds greatly to its appeal, which is underlined by its popularity with big names in culture and the arts as a place for rest and relaxation.
Also featuring gastronomy that is renowned nationwide, including dishes that hark back to traditional Chilean cuisine, its Andean areas also feature a host of hot springs, lakes and valleys that are all well worth seeing.
Places of interest
Termas de Chillán (Chillan Hot Springs) and Nevados de Chillán (Chillan Snowy Peaks) are two tourist resorts featuring swimming pools fed by hot springs, resorts which in winter become attractive ski stations and in summer are ideal for walking, cycling, horse-riding and adventure sports – such as hiking, trekking, rock-climbing and zip-lining. All of which enable visitors to have fun, while savouring the diverse flora and fauna.
Some 35km from Chillan is Quinchamali, a small town where the traditional craft of clay pottery has been passed down from generation to generation for centuries. The roots of this art come from the former Mapuche Indian town of the same name. A particular speciality of the potters and ceramicists are ceramics in black clay, made by hand with the help of rustic tools, items for which Quinchamali is internationally famed.
The centre of Chillan is a very pleasant area to stroll around, as you get a feel for the place from where the city began to expand. A wander around its streets could take you to the Mercado (Market), a building with modernist-style architecture in which you can find an intriguing variety of local businesses selling such produce as longaniza (a long spicy, pork sausage), one of the city’s most symbolic culinary items.
Football is, along with rodeo riding, the city’s most passionately followed sport, with local club Deportivo Nublense flying Chillan’s flag on the professional scene. Originally founded on 20 August 1916 under the guise of Liceo Futbol Club, their home stadium is Estadio Municipal Nelson Oyarzun Arenas – thus named in tribute to one of the club’s most legendary coaches.
The stadium, which was first unveiled in 1935, was redeveloped and reopened on 2 November 2008 in time for Chillan to play host to matches at that year’s FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup.