Cerro Concepción is the hill in the UNESCO World Heritage listed port city of Valparaíso with the most attractions to see. A good starting point is Plaza Aníbal Pinto along the bottom of the hill. It’s a square filled with restaurants, a fountain, and a statue. The prominent building is Librería Ivens. It’s one of the oldest bookstores in Valpo and was founded in 1891.
Facing the hill, the road to the right is Calle Esmeralda. On this street is the El Mercurio building. It’s the home of the oldest continuously published Spanish language newspaper in the entire world. You can’t miss it – it’s the building with the dome and the statue of Mercury.
Eventually you will find yourself at the point where Calle Esmeralda splits off into Calle Prat and Calle Cochrane. The building in front of you is Valpo’s clock tower, Reloj Turri, built in 1929. If you continue to the left down Calle Prat you’ll see Valpo’s version of Wall Street. Here, you can find the Bolsa de Valores, which is the oldest stock exchange in Latin America.
Nearby Reloj Turri is Ascensor Concepción, which takes you up to Paseo Gervasoni. This is a small promenade with amazing views of Valpo and some very nice buildings along it.
Ascensor Concepción was built in 1883 and is one of the few that have functioned continuously since being built. Casa Museo Mirador Lukas, the home of Italian-Chilean cartoonist Lukas (Renzo Pecchenino) is along Paseo Gervasoni as well. It’s open daily except Mondays but I didn’t visit.
From here, I wandered up and down the streets of Cerro Concepción for a while.
While exploring Cerro Concepción, you can visit two of the historic churches set up by the expat community in Valparaíso. The first is St. Paul’s Anglican Church. It was built in 1858 by the English community. Interestingly, the Catholic archbishop at the time ordered that the church doors be built smaller than the doors of Valpo’s Catholic churches. It was closed during my visit, so I had to admire it from the outside.
The second church is the more interesting of the two – the German Lutheran Church. Built in 1898, it was the first non-Catholic church in Chile to be allowed to have a bell tower. The pastor on duty during my visit was a very enthusiastic, funny, and knowledgable American expat. He explained the history of the church very thoroughly and also this Valparaíso’s link to Valparaiso, IN. Because of the hospitality of the pastor, this was one of the top attractions in town for me.
From St. Paul’s, you can walk down Almirante Montt back to Plaza Aníbal Pinto or continue along to Paseo Dimalow.