Although the least visited of the Lake District's four major cities, Osorno is one of the oldest in Chile, but the Mapuche prevented foreigners from settling here until the late 19th century. Like other communities in the region, it bears the imprint of the German settlers who came here in the 1880s. The 1960 earthquake left Osorno with little historic architecture, but a row of 19th-century houses miraculously survived on Juan Mackenna between Lord Cochrane and Freire. Their distinctively sloped roofs, which allow adequate drainage of rain and snow, are replicated in many of Osorno's newer houses. Situated in a bend of the Río Rahue, the city makes a convenient base for exploring the nearby national parks.
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