La Serena is a city and commune in northern Chile, capital of the Coquimbo Region. Founded in 1544, it is the country's second oldest city after the national capital, Santiago.
The city is an important tourist destination, especially during the summer, where people go to visit the beaches. It is in the headquarters of the University of La Serena and also is home to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of La Serena, one of five Catholic Archdioceses of the Catholic Church in Chile.
La Serena has a cool desert climate, similar to nearby places in that it is clearly seasonal – in summer there is an absence of precipitation, but with abundant morning cloudiness and drizzle. In winter, the temperatures descend to between 7 and 16 °C. Being located in a coastal zone, the minimums and maximums are moderated by the maritime influence and the temperature of the cold Humboldt Current.
The old part of the city is the largest and most important urban "traditional area" in Chile. The churches are distinguished by many styles of belfries, which led to the city being nicknamed "the city of the belfries".
The town has retained its historic architecture and this, along with a selection of beaches, has caused the city to become a significant tourist destination, attracting many foreigners.
In recent years the La Serena Song Festival (created in 2004) has been gaining national importance, due to the high quality of the invited artists. A new international airport has also been improved. Real estate development along the beach has created a tourist residential development along the Elqui River.
In the last decades, tourism has turned into one of the most important economic activities. The population doubles in the summer months, principally for the beaches, recreational activities, musical festivals, concerts, and Fashion Week. In this city there are located branches of the more important chain stores of the country. The downtown is one of the places with major economic and financial institutions of the Coquimbo Region.
|Nov. 1999||MOU between La Serena and Daejeon City|
|1999||La Serena joins the WTA|
|Aug. 2000||Daejeon Delegation visits La Serena|
|2003||La Serena leaves the WTA|