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Coquimbo is a port city, commune and capital of the Elqui Province, located on the Pan-American Highway, in the Coquimbo Region of Chile. Coquimbo lies in a valley 10 km (6 mi) south of La Serena, with which it forms Greater La Serena. The natural harbor in Coquimbo was taken over by Pedro de Valdivia from Spain in 1550. The gold and copper industry in the region led to the city's importance as a port around 1840 and many Europeans especially from England settled in Coquimbo. As regards tourism, Coquimbo is famous for the stories of the pirates that attacked the region during the XVIth and XVIIth centuries. In the core of the city stands one of the highest symbols in South America, as far as Christian culture is concerned: the famous Cross of the Third Millennium. In turn, the Mohammed VI cultural center and mosque offers an approach to the Islamic culture, making outstanding contrast with the surrounding buildings.
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