Calle Monjitas

Formerly called Calle Pero Gómez.

According to Víctor Sánchez de Aguilera, author of “El Pasado de Osorno”, in the early days of the town of Osorno, three women by the name of Isabel allegedly retired to live a life of prayer, giving rise to the Congregation of the Isabelas. Following the destruction of the town, the women arrived in Santiago and settled in a plot of land in La Cañada, where the National Library currently stands, taking the name of Santa Clara nuns.

Following a dispute, a group of the sisters moved to a place near Plaza de Armas. The land was granted by Alonso Del Campo Lantadilla, with the proviso that the monastery should be called Santa Clara del Campo. The sisters, however, called it Nuestra Señora de la Victoria.

They remained here for 143 years, so that townsfolk got used to calling the former Pero Gómez street by the name of Calle de las Monjitas.

In 1821, Bernardo O’Higgins decreed the expulsion of the nuns and the sale of their lands, as he needed funds to send the Army to fight against the bandit Benavides.

Throughout the 19th century and up to 1900, given the considerable influence played by the Old World on the aristocracy of the day, the prevailing lifestyle in the residences on this street was European. However, with residents moving away at the turn of the 20th century, trade increased and so did the number of bars and restaurants.

Trade sprang to life in 1925 with the opening of the shopping arcade called Pasaje Matte, which became the commercial icon of downtown Santiago.