Mercado Central de Santiago (Santiago Central Market), founded in 1872

Surprise! No-one would think that such a big iron structure would have one of the best markets in the world inside it!

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Mercado Central de Santiago (Santiago Central Market), founded in 1872

Like a station, but it isn't!

From the outside there is nothing to suppose that this reinforced iron construction would be hiding the huge Mercado Central de Santiago inside it. Its iron structure over a large interior square floor is more reminiscent of a typical late 19th century Parisian railway station the any market you've ever visited. In effect the design is typically European and a child of its time: work began in 1869 under the direction of English designers who had the central structure made in Glasgow. The central square of the market, however was the work of a Chilean urban architect, Manuel Aldunate y Avaria. Its unique structure isn't the only thing which has led it to be placed among the ten best markets in the world, according National Geographic magazine. There is so much more to the market, beginning with the atmosphere of the district which can be felt inside the market, the friendliness of the vendors and the huge variety of products that can be found in its more than 200 stalls. From bakeries to cheesemongers, through to health food shops and butchers, not forgetting the restaurants, where you can enjoy the traditional seafood specialities of Chile. Don't be shy, order "caldillo de congrio" or "chilenito" (see gastronomy section)

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