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Vicuña is the principal town of the Elqui Valley and is situated  62 kilometres from La Serena.  It has a population of 22,000 and is a picturesque town of adobe houses with a plaza dedicated to its most famous citizen, Gabriela Mistral, the poetess who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1945.  She was born in Vicuña and there is a comprehensive museum about her life and work.  Her tomb is at Montegrande, 29 kilometres from Vicuna in the river Claro valley.  In the same place the old schoolhouse where she lived from the age of 2 - 11 is now a small museum. Vicuña also has an interesting German style wooden Bauer Tower, part of the city hall, overlooking the main square, and named after one of the early mayors. 












The amateur observatory of  Mamalluca is administered  by the local Municipality and is open most evenings for observing the stars at night.  It is situated 5 kilometres from Vicuña and has a 12 inch Smith Cassegrain telescope for viewing the stars together with information about the universe.










(See: Transportation to the Observatories)
The nearby  Capel plant for  the production of Pisco is situated just outside the town and is open to the public for tours followed by the opportunity to taste.  (See:
Wine and Pisco).
Not far from this plant is a isolated village which is in the process of an extraordinary experiment as the whole village is using solar cooking methods, each house has a solar oven and cooking stove which uses only the heat from the sun to cook with. Further into the interior of the high mountain range of the Andes is the new magnetic centre of the earth, at
mystical  Cochiquaz












The change of the century together with the change of cosmic era from Pisces to Aquarius has meant also a change from 30ºN to 30ºS from the previous location in Tibet in the Himalayas to the Elqui Valley in Chile.  This has attracted many esoteric groups linked to astrology, yoga and meditation because if its mystic-magnetic energy. Vicuña has many other interesting  small  museums and attracts visitors all year round not only because of the interesting places to visit but also because of its extremely pleasant all year round climate.  The area  benefits from many days with long periods of clear sunshine which is excellent for the production of fruits, vegetables and especially the cultivation of grapes for export and for the local production of pisco.





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