History and museums
Providencia (Spanish pronunciation: pɾoβiˈðensja, Spanish: "providence") is a commune of Chile located in Santiago Province, Santiago Metropolitan Region. Part of Greater Santiago, it is bordered by the communes of Santiago to the west, Recoleta to the northwest, Las Condes and Vitacura to the northeast, La Reina to the east, and Ñuñoa to the south.
Providencia is home to a large upper middle and high-class population and it holds the region's highest percentage of population over 60 (21.51%). It contains many high-rise apartment buildings as well as a significant portion of Santiago's commerce. It is notable for its large, old and elegant houses inhabited in the past by the Santiago elite and now mostly used as offices.
According to the 2002 census of the National Statistics Institute, Providencia spans an area of 14.4 km2 (6 sq mi) and has 120,874 inhabitants (53,082 men and 67,792 women), making the commune an entirely urban area. The population grew by 8.7% (9,692 persons) between the 1992 and 2002 censuses.
As a commune, Providencia is a third-level administrative division of Chile administered by a municipal council, headed by an alcalde who is directly elected every four years. The 2012-2016 alcalde is Josefa Errázuriz Guilisasti (Independent). The communal council has the following members:
La Reina is represented in the Chamber of Deputies by Maya Fernández (PS) and Marcela Sabat (RN) as part of the 24th electoral district (together with Peñalolén). The commune is represented in the Senate by Carlos Montes (PS) and Manuel José Ossandón (RN) as part of the 8th senatorial constituency (Santiago-East).
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation has its headquarters in Providencia.
Providencia includes Barrio Suecia, an area filled with pubs and nightclubs, and Barrio Bellavista, a bohemian area populated with artists and performers. The latter lies in the shadow of Cerro San Cristóbal, a prominent hill in the city topped by a 22 m statue of The Virgin Mary. The north of Providencia is its financial and commercial district (centred on Providencia and Nueva Providencia (Ex 11 de Septiembre) avenues), while the remainder of it contains high-priced residential development.
Other notable areas of interest in Providencia include the Metropolitan Zoo, the Teleférico (an aerial gondola (closed since 2011 with no plans to re-open) that transported people from the foot of Pedro de Valdivia Norte Street to the top of San Cristóbal Hill), several television networks and Radio Cooperativa. The municipality is also home to many embassies, including those of Poland, Italy, France, Egypt, Russia, Japan, China, and Uruguay.