Friday, 28 February 2014

12th Region of Chile- Region of Magellan and The Chilean Antarctica

The flag above represents the 12th Region of Chile and the design was adopted in 1997 by the regional government and have a great popularity among Magellan people.

The blue field represents the night sky and the southern cross southern symbolises the position of the area. The golden field symbolises the steppe region and the white peaks indicate the snow that often falls in winters.

The 12th region of Chile, known as Region of Magellan and Chilean Antarctica, is the southernmost and largest region of Chile, a bi-continental region as its area extends between 48° south latitude and south pole, it means between South American and Antarctic continents. Its area is 1.382.035 km2 however only 132.033,5 km2 belong to South American continent, it is slightly larger than some European countries such as Greece, Portugal, Switzerland and Belgian however it is the second least populated region of Chile, 158.657 inhabitants which corresponds to 1% of total population of the country.

The region is divided in 4 provinces: Magallanes, Tierra del Fuego, Ultima Esperanza and Antartica province.

Traditionally the wealthy of the region focused on sheep livestock however nowadays the government has intensified oil and natural gas extractions , production of methane gas and exportation of salmon, shellfish and seaweed. Also the tourism industry has grown steadily in the last decade because of its unique history and culture that captivate visitors and also its countless natural attractions.

In fact an interesting factor that makes the region suitable for tourism is that 50% of its area is protected wilderness area. The National System of Protected Wilderness Areas, SNASPE, protects 70.000 km2 of wilderness areas in the Region of Magellan being 6 national parks, 3 natural reserves and 3 natural monuments, in total an area of 7.581.753 hectares of protected area, so the visitors have a real feeling of being away from the city.

No doubt that the Torres del Paine National Park is the most visited protected area of the region, declared reserve of biosphere in 1978 by Unesco which means that the area of the park, 227.298 hectares, is part of the representative areas of the different ecosystems of our planet and therefore it is a pattern to measure the environmental impact caused by humans.

The park whose name means blue in the language of the Aonikenks, the first inhabitants in the area, is one of the best places for trekking in Chile as the trail system surrounding the main attraction of the park, the Paine massif, is surrounded by scenic beauty unmatched for its lakes, lagoons and rivers of turquoise colours besides the typical Patagonian flora and fauna.


The Region of Magellan is known for its biological diversity and the variety of lakes, lagoons and rivers suitable for fishing, sailing, kayaking and scuba diving. Also its extreme southern summits special for trekking and climbing lovers.

Punta Arenas is the capital of the Region of Magellan actually the most populated city in the region and the only city located on the Brunswick Peninsula, the west side of the Strait of Magellan.
The city can be accessed by air, sea or land however the international airport is the main gateway to the region as it is only 20km from the centre of the city. Punta Arenas is often a base for Antarctic expedition, has a duty free shopping complex and interesting tourist attractions.

Museo Regional de Magallanes (regional museum):

The museum is one of the two sections into which the mansion is divided and is located in the same centre of the city.
Maurice Braun and Josefina Menendez were members of pioneer families who came to the region in the nineteenth century in search of riches, actually they achieved more than expected in short period of time.
In 1903 they hired a French architect, Antoine Beaulier, to build the mansion for their numbered family of 10 children, importing all the build material and decoration from the old continent.
In 1969 the mansion was declared national monument and in 1983 their heirs donated it to the Chilean government in memory of their parents. Today the palace is being administrated by DIBAM, the national management of libraries and museums which keeps it as real historical relic.

The museum has an important archaeological and ethnographic collection and an interesting photographic collection with a total of 46.986 images, of which 95% belonged to the Croatian origin photographer, Esteban Scarpa Covacevic, the collection portrays the social life of the citizens of the region in the early decades of the twentieth century, also the museum library has over 8000 volumes highlighting the diaries of explorers and navigators.

In the main hall of the house is in display the furniture that the couple bought in England, France and Spain and decorative objects from Asia and Africa, paintings by famous artists of the time such as Pablo Ruiz Blasco, father of the famous Pablo Picasso, an exhibition which reaffirms the eccentric luxury that lived those who made their fortune in the region.