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Aerial view of O'Higgins Park, looking northeast.

O'Higgins Park (Spanish: Parque O'Higgins), named after Bernardo O'Higgins, one of the Chile's independence fathers, is Santiago, Chile's second largest public park. It is located in the center of the capital, in the Santiago Commune. Measuring about 190 acres (767,000 m²), it is about a fourth the size of Manhattan's Central Park.

The park is a popular place for families to visit during weekends and holidays, especially during the national holiday (September 18th), when a number of fondas and ramadas —a traditional Chilean place for dancing, eating and drinking— are open to the public for a few days.

Infrastructure

The park contains several structures like the Field of Mars (Campos de Marte) —also known as The Ellipse, for its shape—, where every September 19, the military parade takes place; the Little Town (pueblito) consists in a small street surrounded by shops and museums. Fantasilandia, the biggest amusement park in the country, is located on its northwestern corner. There is also a public pool, a roller skating field, a skate park, tennis courts, a soccer field, a theater and even a private university. The park itself has several paths that cover its extension and there is also an artificial lake. There's also the indoor stadium Movistar Arena, which holds mostly musical events.

History

Japanese park

The present day park is the result of gradual evolution over its history. The site was originally called "Pampilla" or "El Llano", as it was a flat wasteland where people spontaneously gathered to celebrate the national holidays. The government bought this great extension of unused land in 1845, building on it several buildings, such as a Jail, a Military School and a few others. In 1870, the government gave the northern portion of the terrain to the rich heir and philanthropist Luis Cousiño, who inspired by the parks he saw in Europe —like Hyde Park in London or the Bois de Boulogne in Paris— decided to give one to his own city. The park was inaugurated in January 1873 and was named Parque Cousiño to honor its creator. The name of the traditional Cousiño Park was changed in 1972 to its current name.

Coordinates: 33°27′51″S 70°39′36″W / 33.46417°S 70.66°W / -33.46417; -70.66

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