CHURCH OF SANTO DOMINGO – History

Puerta lateral. In: Pereira, Eugenio. 1965. Historia del Arte en el Reino de Chile. Ediciones de la Universidad de Chile. Santiago, Chile.

The Dominican Order is technically the third congregation to settle in Chile, after the Mercedarios and the Franciscans. They settled in 1552 and founded their convent in 1557, year which some historians date as the start of the church construction located originally on the corner of the current Puente and Santo Domingo Streets. Its entrance is on Santo Domingo Street and it is consecrated to Our Lady del Rosario. Other authors state that the block formed by the Puente, San Pablo, 21 de Mayo and Rosas Streets was given to them by the Cabildo in 1567, explanation that is more widely accepted. Along with these lands, they also acquired others that are on the other side of the Mapocho River, in the neighborhood known at that time as La Chimba; here they formed a center of strict religious observance.

The first church, destroyed by the 1595 earthquake, gave way to the second construction in 1606 that according to data available “there was no other more magnificent…” and it was one of the most beautiful churches in the Colonial style, which was destroyed by the May 1647 earthquake. They started to build the third church that was once again destroyed by the 1730 earthquake. Ten years later, they started to build the new church, which is the one still standing today and that was seriously damaged by the 1963 fire, being completely destroyed in its interior. It was restored by taking out the decorative stucco, thus leaving the perfection of the ashlar stone visible.

During the XIX Century, the Intendancy asks for part of the cloister lands, since they have the intention of making the covered streets “Las Ramadas” and “Las Capuchinas” public. Today these streets are Esmeralda and Rosas, respectively.

 

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