History of Colonia del Sacramento

The best way to get deep into the history of the city is by strolling leisurely about its streets with no particular destination and making questions to everyone we come across. At Colonia del Sacramento, visitors may find themselves at Calle de los Suspiros (Street of Sighs), a place perspiring magic, history, secrets and legends.

This small street is a narrow pedestrian way. It features steps here and there, no sidewalks and it is paved with wedge stones. Hundreds of years ago, sailors would walk down this street after landing on the area in search for some fun after a long voyage. Long hours at sea and a huge river should be changed for entertainment on solid ground. And that could always be found, both by the Portuguese and the Spaniards, in Colonia.

In the old days, this quaint street used to be called Ansina. Several legends have been woven around its present name: Why is it called the Street of Sighs? There are several answers. One of them asserts that those who were condemned to death were led along the street of “sighs” to be drowned when the tide rose. Another story suggests that this street used to lodge countless brothels, the shelter of tired sailors eager for fun, and that the soldiers who walked along it would pay compliments to the prostitutes and sigh for them once and again. The last story, and maybe the most romantic one, goes that one marvelous moonlit night, a young maiden was waiting for her love. Suddenly, a masked man stabbed her with a dagger in her chest. A disappointed farewell sigh was all that was heard…

New stories may arise. It will be a matter of going in search for them. The Street of Sighs still preserves its magic, which takes us on a journey back in time to keep on dreaming. One only needs to get to this place.