The seaside port city of Valparaíso blossomed during the Gold Rush in the second half of the 19th century, when the city served as a major stopover for ships traveling on their way to San Francisco. The city thrived until the Panama Canal opened in 1914. The reduced ship traffic dealt a serious blow to Valparíso’s post-based economy and many wealthy immigrants abandoned the city. However, over the past 15 years, the city has staged a recovery, attracting artists and cultural entrepreneurs who have set up in the city's hillside historic districts. In 2003, the historic quarter was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.