The city of Castro is situated 88 kilometres from Ancud and 40 metres up on the banks of a fjord of protected waters. Castro is the third oldest city in Chile, after Santiago and La Serena and is the capital of Chiloe province. Apart from the capital, the sector comprises the entire area of Isla Grande, including the islands of Quinchao and Lemuy. A land of great myths and legends such as the Trauco and Pincoya, the port is located in the middle of beautiful natural surroundings where the sun and rain are inseparable companions to its inhabitants. Its customs and geographical isolation have created a unique culture which is reflected in its delicious cuisine like the curanto, potatoes and seafood. The folklore is also expressed in its music and dances such as the cueca chilota . To get to know Castro, look at the things brought by the first settlers in the regional Museum and visit the Museum of Modern Art which contains one of the best collections of this kind in the country. Walking the streets is an invitation to inspect the beautiful wooden houses and the legendary palafitos on the shore of the canal. A little further on you will reach the Plaza of Arms where the imposing coloured church of San Fransisco can be seen. It was erected by the inhabitants from local wood in 1910 and measures 1,300 square metres. Another interesting place is the coastal road that has been converted into a large commercial and handicraft complex. The history of the city goes back to when it was founded in the 16th century by Captain Martin Ruiz de Gambos on the 12th of February 1567. Its evolution is characterized by conflict. In 1600 it was occupied by the pirate Sebastian de Cordes and in 1640 was destroyed by Enrique Brower, another Dutch pirate. In spite of its tempestuous existence, Castro was the political capital of the province until 1788, when Ancud won the title because of Castro´s decline. Only at the end of the 19th century, did Castro begin to rise, thanks to the wood industry and the arrival of the railways from the north in 1912. From this point onwards, it regained its importance as the nerve centre of the isle and re-established its title of regional headquarters in 1982. The traditions of the promontory that still prevail, can be seen in the popular costume festival of Chilote held in February in the Parque Municipal de Castro. National and overseas tourists become part of the friendly crowds enjoying songs, folkloric groups and handicraft fairs in the open-air. Hotels, cabins, restaurants, bars, camping sites and agricultural tours to properties in the surrounding area, together with pleasant boat rides over the fjords and canals of the interior sea, all combine to provide a very enjoyable stay.