Caracas (Spanish pronunciation: [kaˈɾakas]), officially Santiago de León de Caracas, is the capital, the center of the Greater Caracas Area, and the largest city of Venezuela. Caracas is located along the Guaire River in the northern part of the country, following the contours of the narrow Caracas Valley on the Venezuelan coastal mountain range (Cordillera de la Costa). Terrain suitable for building lies between 760 and 910 m (2,490 and 2,990 ft) above sea level. The valley is close to the Caribbean Sea, separated from the coast by a steep 2,200-metre-high (7,200 ft) mountain range, Cerro El Ávila; to the south there are more hills and mountains.
The Metropolitan District of Caracas is made up of five municipalities: Libertador Municipality which is the only administrative division of the Venezuelan Capital District, and four other municipalities, which are within in Miranda State: Chacao, Baruta, Sucre, and El Hatillo. Libertador holds many of the government buildings and is the Capital District (Distrito Capital). The Distrito Capital had a population of 2,013,366 as of 2011, while the Metropolitan District of Caracas was estimated at 3,273,863 as of (2013). The Metropolitan Region of Caracas has an estimated population of 5,243,301.
Businesses that are located in the city include service companies, banks, and malls, among others. It has a largely service-based economy, apart from some industrial activity in its metropolitan area. The Caracas Stock Exchange and Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) are headquartered in Caracas. PDVSA is the largest company in Venezuela. Caracas is also Venezuela’s cultural capital, with many restaurants, theaters, museums, and shopping centers. Some of the tallest skyscrapers in Latin America are located in Caracas.
At the time of the founding of the city in 1567, the valley of Caracas was populated by indigenous peoples. Francisco Fajardo, the son of a Spanish captain and a Guaiqueri cacica, attempted to establish a plantation in the valley in 1562 after founding a series of coastal towns. Fajardo’s settlement did not last long. It was destroyed by natives of the region led by Terepaima and Guaicaipuro. This was the last rebellion on the part of the natives. On 25 July 1567, Captain Diego de Losada laid the foundations of the city of Santiago de León de Caracas. The foundation − 1567 – “I take possession of this land in the name of God and the King” These were the words of Don Diego de Losada in founding the city of Caracas on 25 July 1567. In 1577 Caracas became the capital of the Spanish Empire’s Venezuela Province under Governor Juan de Pimentel (1576–1583).
During the 17th century, the coast of Venezuela was frequently raided by pirates. With the coastal mountains as a barrier, Caracas was relatively immune to such attacks. However, in 1595, around 200 English privateers including George Sommers and Amyas Preston crossed the mountains through a little-used pass while the town’s defenders were guarding the more often-used one. Encountering little resistance, the invaders sacked and set fire to the town after a failed ransom negotiation.
As the cocoa cultivation and exports under the Compañía Guipuzcoana de Caracas grew in importance, the city expanded. In 1777, Caracas became the capital of the Captaincy General of Venezuela.
José María España and Manuel Gual led an attempted revolution aimed at independence, but the rebellion was put down on 13 July 1797. Caracas was ultimately the site of the signing of a Declaration of Independence on 5 July 1811. In 1812, an earthquake destroyed Caracas. The revolutionary war continued until 24 June 1821, when Bolívar defeated royalists in the Battle of Carabobo. Caracas, as painted by Joseph Thomas in 1839
Caracas grew in economic importance during Venezuela’s oil boom in the early 20th century. During the 1950s, Caracas began an intensive modernization program which continued throughout the 1960s and early 1970s. The Universidad Central de Venezuela, designed by modernist architect Carlos Raúl Villanueva and declared World Heritage by UNESCO, was built. New working- and middle-class residential districts sprouted in the valley, extending the urban area toward the east and southeast. Joining El Silencio, also designed by Villanueva, were several workers’ housing districts, 23 de Enero and Simon Rodriguez. Middle-class developments include Bello Monte, Los Palos Grandes, Chuao, and El Cafetal. The dramatic change in the economic structure of the country, which went from being primarily agricultural to dependent on oil production, stimulated the fast development of Caracas, and made it a magnet for people in rural communities who migrated to the capital city in an unplanned fashion searching for greater economic opportunity. This migration created the rancho (slum) belt of the valley of Caracas.
The flag of Caracas consists of a burgundy red field with the version of the Coat of Arms of the City (effective since the 1980s). The red field symbolises the blood spilt by Caraquenian people in favour of independence and the highest ideals of the Venezuelan Nation. Later, in the year 1994, presumably as a result of the change of municipal authorities, it was decided to increase the size of the Caracas coat of arms and move it to the centre of the field. This version of the flag is still in use today.
The coat of arms of the City of Caracas was adopted by the Libertador Municipality to identify itself. Later, the Metropolitan Mayor Office assumed the lion, the scallop and Saint James’ Cross for the same purpose.
The anthem of the city is the Marcha a Caracas, written by the composer Tiero Pezzuti de Matteis with the lyrics by José Enrique Sarabia. The lyrics are said to be inspired by the heroism of the Caraquenian people, and the memory of the City of Red Roofs. Incidentally, the National Anthem of Venezuela, Gloria al Bravo Pueblo, includes the lines “…y si el despotismo levanta la voz, seguid el ejemplo que Caracas dio” (“…and if despotism raises its voice, follow the example that Caracas gave”), reflecting the fact that, in addition to generously providing many heroic fighters to the War of Independence, the junta established in Caracas (19 April 1810) served as inspiration for other regions to do the same—as did its declaration of independence a year later.
Caracas has five municipalities: Baruta, El Hatillo, Chacao, Libertador and Sucre. Under the constitution of Venezuela, municipal governments have two branches: the executive (governed by a mayor) and the legislative (managed by a municipal council). On 8 March 2000, the year after a new constitution was introduced in Venezuela, it was decreed in Gaceta Official N° 36,906 that the Metropolitan District of Caracas would be created, and that some of the powers of these municipalities would be delegated to the Alcaldía Mayor, physically located in the large Libertador municipality, in the center of the city.
Businesses that are located here include service companies, banks, and malls, among others. It has a largely service-based economy, apart from some industrial activity in its metropolitan area. The Caracas Stock Exchange and Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) are headquartered here. The PDVSA is the largest company in Venezuela, and negotiates all the international agreements for the distribution and export of petroleum. When the company existed, the airline Viasa had its headquarters in the Torre Viasa.
Caracas’ central business district is Milla de Oro, which is located in the north of the Baruta municipality and the south of the Chacao municipality, it is one of largest financial districts of Latin America, it is home to many companies and is dominated by numerous high-rises. Other important business districts include Plaza Venezuela, Parque Central Complex and El Recreo.
Small and medium-size industry contributes to the Caracas economy. The city provides communication and transportation infrastructure between the metropolitan area and the rest of the country. Important industries in Caracas include chemicals, textiles, leather, food, iron and wood products. There are also rubber and cement factories. Its GDP(Nominal) is 69 billion $ and the GDP(PPP) per Capita is $24,000.
A 2009 United Nations survey reported that the cost of living in Caracas was 89% of that of its baseline city: New York. However, this statistic is based upon a fixed currency-exchange-rate of 2003 and might not be completely realistic, due to the elevated inflation rates of the last several years.
This video was taken in 2013. Now the president is Nicolas Maduro
Caracas is contained entirely within a valley of the Venezuelan central range, and separated from the Caribbean coast by a roughly 15 kilometres (9 miles) expanse of El Ávila National Park. The valley is relatively small and quite irregular, the altitude with respect to sea level varies from between 870 and 1,043 meters (2,854 and 3,422 ft), with 900 meters (3,000 feet) in the historic zone. This, along with the rapid population growth, has profoundly influenced the urban development of the city. The most elevated point of the Capital District, wherein the city is located, is the Pico El Ávila, which rises to 2,159 meters (7,083 feet). The main body of water in Caracas is the Guaire River, which flows across the city and empties into the Tuy River, which is also fed by the El Valle and San Pedro rivers, in addition to numerous streams which descend from El Ávila. The La Mariposa and Camatagua reservoirs provide water to the city. The city is occasionally subject to earthquakes – notably in 1641 and 1967.
Under the Köppen climate classification, Caracas has a tropical savanna climate (Aw). Caracas is also intertropical, with precipitation that varies between 900 and 1,300 millimeters (35 and 51 inches) (annual), in the city proper, and up to 2,000 millimeters (79 inches) in some parts of the Mountain range. While Caracas is within the tropics, due to its altitude temperatures are generally not nearly as high as other tropical locations at sea level. The annual average temperature is approximately 23.8 °C (75 °F), with the average of the coldest month (January) 22.8 °C (73 °F) and the average of the warmest month (July) 25.0 °C (77 °F), which gives a small annual thermal amplitude of 2.2 °C (4.0 °F). In the months of December and January abundant fog may appear, in addition to a sudden nightly drop in temperature, until reaching 8 °C (46 °F). This peculiar weather is known by the natives of Caracas as the Pacheco. In addition, nightly temperatures at any time of the year are much (14 to 20 °C) lower than daytime highs and usually do not remain above 24 °C (75 °F), resulting in very pleasant evening temperatures. Hail storms appear in Caracas, although only on rare occasions. Electrical storms are much more frequent, especially between June and October, due to the city being in a closed valley and the orographic action of Cerro El Ávila. Caracas record extremes have been reported in other city’s stations to reach a minimum of 6 °C (43 °F) and a maximum of 35.5 °C (95.9 °F)
According to the population census of 2015 the Caracas proper (Distrito Capital) is over 3 million inhabitants, while that of the Metropolitan District of Caracas is estimated at 5.4 million as of 2015. The vast majority of the population is composed from immigrants and their descendents primarily from Spain, Italy, Germany and Portugal. There is also a considerable Syrian and Lebanese population present in the country.