Description Valparaso is Chiles most important seaport and an increasingly vital cultural center. The city is located in central Chile, where it is capital of the Region of Valparaso. Although Santiago is Chile's official capital, Valparaiso houses the National Congress. Built upon dozens of steep hillsides overlooking the Pacific Ocean, Valparaso boasts a labyrinth of streets and cobblestone alleyways, embodying a rich architectural and cultural legacy. Valparaso is protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is often considered to be one of Latin Americas most intriguing urban areas. Valparaiso like most of Chile is vulnerable to earthquakes. The last major earthquake to strike the city directly was in 1906 which devastated the city and killed nearly 20,000 people.