The Church of San Francisco, built between 1586 and 1628, is the oldest standing building in Santiago, having miraculously survived three devastating earthquakes. At the altar sits the famous Virgen del Socorro, the first Virgin Mary icon in Chile brought here to Santiago by Pedro de Valdivia, the conquistador of Chile. Valdivia claimed the icon had warded off Indian attacks. The highlights, however, are the museum and the convent, the latter with its idyllic patio planted with flora brought from destinations as near as the south of Chile and as far away as the Canary Islands. The garden, with its bubbling fountain and cooing white doves, is so serene you'll find it hard to believe you're in downtown Santiago. The tiny museum houses a collection of one of the largest and best-conserved examples of 17th-century art in South America. A sizable percentage of colonial-period furniture, keys, paintings, and other items on display were crafted in Peru, when it still was the seat of the Spanish government in Latin America.
- © Frommer's 2013
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- Avenida Bernardo O'Higgins
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