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Lonely Planet review for Ascensores
It's possible to spend hours riding the 15 ascensores (also known as funicular elevators), built between 1883 and 1916, that lead up into the hills and meandering back alleys of Valparaíso. Some of the ascensores are remarkable feats of engineering. From the flat city center the ascensores creak at an improbable angle up to the tumbling chaotic cerros (hills), with their steep labyrinthine roads, crumbling mansions and kaleidoscopic rooftops.
Take Ascensor Concepción, the city's oldest elevator, to the beautiful Cerro Concepción, or take Ascensor El Peral to the Museo de Bellas Artes in Cerro Alegre, or ride the Ascensor Cordillera to the Museo del Mar Lord Cochrane in Cerro Cordillera.
It's not just the stunning vistas that hit you as you look down to the busy working commercial and naval harbor below; it's the unique, faded grandeur of the town, and its spontaneous, bohemian charm. More than anywhere else in Chile there's a feeling of 'anything goes,' a legacy of Valparaíso's artistic presence (Pablo Neruda had a home here) and its ever-shifting port population.