Sewell, the ghost town in the Chilean Andes, was an important miner camp one century ago. Today it's World's Heritage and one of the most wanted tourist attractions near Santiago.
A little more than a century ago the American William Bradem, nicknamed "the gringo", founded the perfect city in the Andes mountain range. A mining camp with steep stairs and colorful houses where people lived with luxury thanks to the latest trends coming from the United States and Europe.
Today Sewell is a trip to the past, but paradoxically in its glory years, the mining town was a small glimpse into the future. The foundation of Sewell began in 1905, when the Government of Chile gave authorization to William Bradem to exploit the largest underground copper deposit in the world. The prosperity of El Teniente, financed the creation of a settlement of 175 thousand m2 where housing buildings, a church, a hospital, a heated pool, a club, a theater, and even a cinema were built.
The work was hard, and the inhospitable climate of the mountain range was not easy to bear, but the quality of life that Sewell delivered at the time was so high, that many Rancagüinos preferred to leave the city and go to work in the mine to make the most of the benefits of the settlement.
Such was the life that was carried in the high mountains, that during the holidays the workers didn’t go down to visit their relatives but invited their families to go up to Sewell so that they too could enjoy the heated pool and that strange but popular game among the gringos, called bowling.
Currently, from that good life there are only vestiges. Sewell is today a ghost town, although well maintained. 50 of its original enclosures are still standing, including the bowling and the heated pool that look intact. The departments are empty, but when walking down the deserted stairs, it is perceived that there is something else, besides the buildings and the snow, that makes you feel like in a scene of Kubric's classic "The Shining".
The legend of Sewell tells us that at 3 o'clock in the morning, on colder nights, the bride appears floating on the stairs. One day in 1953, she dressed in white to walk down those same stairs with her future boyfriend. But the man never showed up. His fiancée had died a day earlier inside the mine. It is said that the woman died sometime later and that her soul is still awake.
Currently it is possible to visit this ghost town unique in its kind. Named a World Heritage Site, it has a museum and its doors are open to receive those who go on tour.
For security reasons, it is not possible to visit Sewell by car going by yourself. To get there, you have to book a tour to Sewell whose schedules depend on the place of departure. It is possible to take the bus in Santiago or in Rancagua. GoChile has a tour available that includes the entrance to the Copper Mining Museum and lunch.
If you want to know one of the most hidden tourist attractions in the O'Higgins region, click here.
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