THE CULTURAL TOUR TOURISTS CAN FOLLOW IN THE MAULE REGION

A WIDE DIVERSITY OF CHOICES CAN BE FOUND BY THE TOURISTS THAT ARRIVE TO THIS AREA OF THE COUNTRY, FROM THE OPPORTUNITY TO APPRECIATE THE WORKS OF GREAT PAINTERS AND SCULPTORS UP TO ENJOY WINE TOURISM AND THE LOCAL-COLOR FESTIVALS.



January 20, 2016

Linked to the rural identity that characterizes the Maule and O'higgins regions, part of the cultural tourism on both territories is developed, and however rural their condition might be, they also presents important options in the field of arts related to more traditional esthetical definitions.

Thus, the University of Talca has become an important reference, as it has had a special concern for the cultural manifestations, not only in the dissemination of the work of national and regional artists in carefully designed areas for this purpose and which can be accessed free of charge in different locations of the region, but also in the decision to form its own heritage and offer it to the community.

“Through artistic expression, the development of the sensitivity of all members of society is promoted”, said Álvaro Rojas, President of our Academic Institution.

One of these spaces, the National Museum of the Sculptures located at the Talca Campus of our Academic Institution, is just a short distance from the 5 South Highway. Here, in the midst of extensive green areas, it is possible to appreciate more than twenty works from prominent artists such as Francisco Gazitúa, José Vicente Guajardo, Federico Assler, Marta Colvin, Raul Valdivieso, Matthias Vial, Osvaldo Peña, Francisca Cerda, Mario Irarrázabal and Sergio Castillo, among others.

In this premises it is also possible to visit the Lily Garafulic hall, on the first floor of the Bicentenary Building. In this place, which opened half a year ago, more than 60 works that represent the legacy of the great Chilean sculptor are exhibited.

“This is a route of cultural tourism which is just a kilometer and a half from the 5 South Highway through the first access to Talca for those traveling from the north. People can make a cultural pause in their itinerary, in the National Park of the Sculpture of the Talca Campus, in one of whose entrances it can be seen the impressive Matilde Perez’s Kinetic Frieze”, said as an invitation the director of Artistic and Cultural Extension of the UTALCA, Marcela Albornoz.

Civic Center

Within walking distance of this place, in the heart of the city's civic center, there are two other options: the Exhibition Halls are located in the Central House of the University (located in 2 Norte 685), to which it was recently added another, in the building of the former Plaza Hotel, on the Plaza de Armas main Square, which allowed to bring closer to the community the works of his valuable collection of paintings, constituted by more than one thousand pieces of different authors.

A Fondart project will help to rescue the basement of this same building for artistic purposes.

“It will be fitted for the same purpose, becoming the greatest surface Art Gallery to the south of Santiago, in which the UTALCA displays permanently its significant pictorial heritage, consisting of more than two thousand works of art of the most prominent exponents of the plastic arts of the XX and XXI centuries”, underlined the authority.

Another option is to visit the of Firefighters museum, at the General Headquarters, located at Avenida 2 Sur, where it is possible to appreciate the old material of the institution.

Follow the Path

Meanwhile, outside the city, in the town of Yerbas Buenas, it is located the Historical Museum, which highlights aspects of the colonial life. It is located in the Home of Brigadier Pareja, in front of the main square of the town, declared Historical Monument.

For its part, the Museum of Arts and Crafts in Linares can be found in a colonial house of this city, and has collections that were formed thanks to the generosity of the Chilean artists who gathered more than 200 works of art, spanning a century of national plastic production (1880-1980), and also the contributions made by the National History Museum and the National Museum of Fine Arts, Santiago de Chile.

The museum conducts periodically temporary exhibitions of visual arts and popular crafts, poetry readings, conferences, workshops, folklore, literature, and arts, and cycles of documentary videos and films.

The literary heritage of the lands of the Maule Region has, among its children, illustrious writers of the stature of Pablo Neruda, Pablo de Rokha, Enrique Gómez Correa, Max Jara, Pedro Antonio Gonzalez and Jerónimo Lagos Lisboa, among others. The connection of the “Pablos” with the region is expressed materially in the Rokha monument, located next to the river Mataquito, close to Licantén, and in the sculpture that symbolizes Neruda’s literary creation in the city of Parral, near the Highway 5.

Connection with the Identity

The high rurality rate is one of the factors that are considered to be of first importance to examine the regional identity, both in Maule as well as in its neighboring O'higgins regions. The rural roots and the preponderance of agriculture in the regional economies also condition that profile.

Very much tied to the identity of this land is its cuisine. Perhaps that is why this attribute appears to be recognized in the studies conducted by the Observatory of Tourism of the Maule Region, a project led by professor Carolina River, from the Department of Economics and Business of the UTALCA.

“We found that tourists arriving to the Region named the gastronomy as one of the most important attractions in their different destinations,” said the professor.

The quality and variety of the food is one of the attributes also identified by the director of Tourism in the Maule, Carolina Reyes. She indicated that it has a lot to do in this the presentation of local-color fairs and festivals in most of the 30 Maule counties “because many of these events generate the interest in visiting our country.”

According to Reyes, thanks to the dissemination and promotion of these festivities there are attractions for the tourist in all seasons, not just in the summer, when there is, for example, festivals such as the Cheese in Chanco and the festival of the bare mare threshing.

These continue the successful initiative of the Pelluhue county, which several years ago transformed this already outdated way of work —since machines replaced the animals— in a celebration of rural roots that gathers thousands of tourists.

“The Festival of the Pig in Talca, in the winter, or the activities that are performed for the 18th of September (national holyday), are part of the Maule cultural manifestations,” he said. The Cazuelas and Broths Market, which converts Curico into a focus of attraction in the middle of winter, has also gained recognition.

Touristic Railway Branch

Reyes also pointed out, as one of the most developed products in 2015, the touristic railway branch from Talca to Constitución, linked to the centenary of this train -which was celebrated last November - that now holds the category of National Monument.

In the opinion of the regional director of Tourism, here converges great part of the distinctive elements such as nature, wine, country life, heritage, traditions, peasant gastronomy and folklore.

“All of this translates into a single product, an experience that the domestic and foreign tourists like very much,” he said.
 
Something good for this touristic alternative and for the inhabitants along the Branch is the announced renewal of the wagons for the daily transport and the conservation of the most characteristic one to promote tourism, which will contribute to the remodeling of the 11 stations of the branch line.

Carolina Reyes stated that the season of the touristic branch train, whose initial horn was sound on January 9, delivers part of the best of the region, “the deep Chile, tortilla flavored, chanco in stone, corn humitas and sweet wines, less than three hours from Santiago, Concepción and Malargüe (Argentina)”.

Handicraft

Also attractive are the large number of rural towns typical of the central area, some of which still show buildings which have escaped the devastation of the earthquakes. Yerbas Buenas, Villa Alegre, Vichuquén, Curepto and Chanco, among others, have that charm. Some, moreover, are linked to crafts centers such as Rari, in the county of Colbún, where the horsehair weavers are located.

The same thing happens with Chimbarongo, in the O'higgins Region, which is identified with the wicker crafts. Both towns were distinguished as “Craft Cities of the World” by the World Crafts Council, an affiliate of the Organization of United Nations (UN) that is dedicated to the rescue and conservation of the craft in the global level.

This is a way of promoting tourism, through the strengthening of the cultural heritage and local identity, highlighting its traditional products, like the raw-wool knittings of Limpimávida and Pencahue, crafts in clay from Vichuquén, Unihue —between Talca and Maule— and Pilén, in Cauquenes, and the saddlery of San Clemente.



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