Category Archives: COLONIAL ZONE SIGHTS, MONUMENTS & PARKS

Contents of Category COLONIAL ZONE AND SANTO DOMINGO – SIGHTS & MONUMENTS

History of the old city of Santo Domingo now known as the Zona Colonial.

Colonial Zone Map

The Monuments, Museums and Sights of the Colonial City.

Buildings/Edificios – Monuments/Monumentos

CASA CABALLERO
CASA DE BASTIDAS
CASA DE JUAN VILORIA
CASA DE LOS DÁVILA / CAPILLA DE LOS REMEDIOS
CASA DE LOS JESUITAS
CASA DE LAS GÁRGOLAS
CASA DE LOS MEDALLONES
CASA DEL CORDÓN
CASA DEL SACRAMENTO
CASA DEL TAPAO
CASA DEL TOSTADO
CASA DE LAS ACADEMIAS
CASA HERNÁN CORTÉS
CASA REALES AND MUSEO
COLEGIO DE GORJÓN
COLONIAL CULVERTS
COLUMBUS PALACE
MONTECINO THE MAN AND MONUMENT
PALACIO CONSISTORIAL
PALACIO DE BORGELLÁ
SUN DIAL
RUINS OF THE SAN FRANCISCO MONASTERY
RUINAS HOSPITAL SAN NICOLÁS DE BARI

*Monuments from old html web site not yet added to the new site:

Alcazar de Colón/ Columbus Palace
Altar de la Patria/ Altar of the Nation
Atarazanas (Las)/ The Atarazanas
Puerta el Conde/ Door of the Conde
Puerta de la Misericordia/ Gate of Mercy
Puerta de las Atarazans
Puerta de San Diego/ Gate of St. James
Residencia de Ovando/ Governor Nicolás Ovando’s Residence

CHURCHES / IGLESIAS

CAPILLA DE LA TERCERA ORDEN DOMINICA
CASA DE LOS DÁVILA / CAPILLA DE LOS REMEDIOS
CATEDRAL DE SANTO DOMINGO
CHAPEL OF THE ROSARY
ERMITA DE SAN ANTÓN
IGLESIA ALTAGRACIA
IGLESIA – FUERTE SANTA BARBARA
IGLESIA LAS MERCEDES
IGLESIA LOS DOMINICOS
IGLESIA NUESTRA SEÑORA DEL CARMEN
IGLESIA REGINA ANGELORUM
IGLESIA SAN LAZARO
IGLESIA DE SANTA CLARA
LA CAPILLA DE SAN ANDRÉS
LAS MERCEDES
CAPILLA DE LA TERCERA ORDEN FRANCISCANA
IGLESIA DE SAN MIGUEL
PANTEÓN NACIONAL / NATIONAL PANTHEON

FORTS AND FORTALEZAS

Fortaleza Ozama
Inside The Walls of the Fortaleza Ozama
FUERTE CARINA AND ANGULO
FUERTE SAN GIL
IGLESIA – FUERTE SANTA BARBARA
FUERTE AND PARQUE SAN JOSÉ
FUERTE DE LA CONCEPCIÓN
FUERTE INVINCIBLE AND SAN DIEGO

*Forts from old html web site not yet added to the new site:

Fuerte de la Caridad/ Fort of Charity
Fuerte de San Anton
Fuerte de San Lazaro
Fuerte de San Miguel

MUSEUMS/MUSEOS

CASA DE BASTIDAS – Trampolín, Museo Infantil
CASA DEL TOSTADO – Museo de la Familia Dominicano
CASA DE LOS MEDALLONES – Museo Numismático Dominicano
COLEGIO DE GORJÓN – Centro Cultural de España
CASA REALES AND MUSEO
COLUMBUS PALACE – MUSEO ALCAZAR DE COLÓN

*Museos from old html web site not yet added to the new site:

Amber World Museum
Larimar Factory
Larimar Museum
Museo del Tabaco/ The Tobacco Museum
Museo Naval de las Atarazanas/ Naval Museum of the Atarazanas
Museo de la Porcelana/ Museum of Porcelain
Museo de Juan Pablo Duarte/ Museum of Juan Pablo Duarte
Museo Alcazar de Colon
Memorial Museum of Dominican Resistance / El Museo Memorial de la Resistencia Dominicana
Museo del Ron y la Caña / Museum of Rum and Sugar Cane
Museum of Telecommunications / Museo de las Telecomunicaciones (CCT)

PARKS AND PLAZAS

CEIBA DE COLON
PARQUE PLAZA MARIA TRINIDAD SANCHEZ
PLAZA DE LA POESÍA
PARQUE PELLERANO CASTRO – PARQUE ROSADO
FUERTE AND PARQUE SAN JOSÉ
Playa Placer de los Estudios

*Parks and Plazas from old html web site not yet added to the new site:

Cementerio Nacional de la Avenida Independencia/ National Cemetery Avenue Independencia (Picture album – Cementerio Nacional)
Malecón – The seaside road
Parque Colón/ Columbus Park
Parque Duarte
Parque Independencia/ Independence Park
Plaza de España or Plaza de Armas
Plaza María de Toledo
Plaza at Ermita de San Anton and Fort San Francisco
Plaza Bartolomé de las Casas
Plazoleta Padre Billini
Plazoleta y Callejónde los Curas/ Plaza and Alley of the Cures

STATUES
Poet Julia de Burgos
MONTECINO THE MAN AND MONUMENT
The Statue of General Matías Ramón Mella
Ornamental Fountain Monument
Monument to the Japanese Agricultural Immigration

STREETS/CALLES
CALLE EL CONDE
CALLE LAS DAMAS
CALLE HOSTOS

Plazoleta Padre Billini

Plazoleta Padre Billini

Beautiful and intimate Plazoleta / Small Plaza Padre Billini, named after and dedicated to Padre Billini who contributed many important things to the Dominican Republic. Here his statue, made by French sculptor Ernest Gilbert, stands proudly.

The statue of Padre Francisco Xavier Billini stands in the center of the plaza named after him, Plazoleta Padre Billini
The statue of Padre Francisco Xavier Billini stands in the center of the plaza named after him, Plazoleta Padre Billini

Padre Francisco Xavier Billini (December 1, 1837 – March 9, 1896), known as the protector of the poor man. He was also a great Philanthropist. Billini founded the National Lottery in 1882 to help pay for the poorest patients of the Hospital de la Beneficencia. This was the first charity hospital in the Dominican Republic, later known as Hospital San Andrés. We now know the hospital as Hospital Docente Padre Billini located on Calle Santomé in the Colonial Zone.

The statue of Padre Billini, The protector of the people, stands in the center of the Plaza
The statue of Padre Billini, The protector of the people, stands in the center of the Plaza

The Legend of La Casa de Garay

Where this Plazoleta Padre Billini is now, there once was a large beautiful house, The Casa de Garay. This private home was built around 1520. It was torn down because of a disagreement between neighbors.

Located on Calle Arzobispo Meriño on the left is La Bricola Restaurant and the Plaza Padre Billini is where the beautiful Casa de Garay once stood
Located on Calle Arzobispo Meriño on the left is La Bricola Restaurant and the Plaza Padre Billini is where the beautiful Casa de Garay once stood

A widow, who lived in her home where La Bricola Restaurant is located (across the street from the Plaza), saw a sight from her window. A slave from the Casa de Garay decided to milk their masters’ cow in the middle of the street. The elderly lady complained. The owners of the House of Garay made a nasty comment about this. The widows’ nephew heard about the comment and came to his elderly aunts’ defense. He wanted to defend the family name of Franco Medina.

The nephew wanted the owner of the slave to apologize. They even offered to purchase the slave so they could punish him and end the dispute. The owner refused. It was against the law to speak badly or defame someone’s character. It was a very serious offense (and still is in the Dominican Republic). A long court battle entailed because they questioned the persons’ honor. The elderly woman won the lawsuit.

In this time in history, many lawsuits were settled by giving the losers home to the winner of a suit. The owner of the lost home said angrily (general translation) “It’s easy for anyone to get rich!” The Franco Medina family, who won the property, announced that the house will not be lived in by me or anyone. They destroyed the home because they did not want the owner to think the Medina family fought and won just to take the home.

The empty lot was turned into a plaza. This plaza has had many different names over time, including Plaza de las Franco, Plaza de las Lebrón and Plaza de las Mañón. Finally, Damián Báez (the son of Presidente Buenaventura Báez), purchased the property to make a plaza dedicated to Padre Billini.

Plaza Padre Billini Now

Plazolita Padre Billini has large shade trees where one can sit and enjoy a rest from the Dominican sun
Plazolita Padre Billini has large shade trees where one can sit and enjoy a rest from the Dominican sun

The small plaza has benches under large shade trees where you can sit and enjoy the breeze. It is now half occupied by some of the restaurants that line the site. These restaurants are nice but expensive places. You can sit outside in the Plaza or inside the enclosed restaurants or private patios to have a meal and a drink.

The Plazoleta Padre Billini is a favorite spot to take wedding pictures.
The Plazoleta Padre Billini is a favorite spot to take wedding pictures.

They hold many special events in the Plaza from meetings with the President to small intimate weddings. It is a great place to take wedding pictures too.

Plazoleta Padre Billini is located on Calle Arzobispo Meriño and Padre Billini where the beautiful Casa de Garay once stood
Plazoleta Padre Billini is located on Calle Arzobispo Meriño and Padre Billini where the beautiful Casa de Garay once stood

Location:

Walking from Calle el Conde turn on Arzobispo Meriño south toward the sea. Walk about a block and a half and small plaza, Plazoleta Padre Billini, is on the left side before you get to Calle Padre Billini.

Fuerte Invincible and San Diego

Fuerte Invincible and Fuerte San Diego, The Forts on Avenida del Puerto

Two of the many important forts along Rio Ozama were Fuerte Invincible and Fuerte San Diego. They were part of a chain of forts, with cannons at the ready, that defended the colonial city of Santo Domingo and its bustling port from enemy invasions.

All of these forts and walls were raised throughout the XVI century. It is interesting to note that these forts along the riverfront were not planned as one continuous fort. They were built as the need arose and money became available.

Fuerte Invincible | Fuerte San Diego | Puerta de San Diego | Bateria del Almirante | Puerta Atarazana | Lagoon Tanque | Location

Two important forts of Colonial Santo Domingo were Fuerte Invincible and Fuerte San Diego. Seen from across Rio Ozama
Two important forts of Colonial Santo Domingo were Fuerte Invincible and Fuerte San Diego. Seen from across Rio Ozama

Fuerte Invincible

Fuerte Invincible is the first fort after Fortaleza Ozama. The fortress, also called San Alberto and Coca (San Alberto y De Coca). This fort was built on the cliffs behind the mansions of Nicolás de Ovando and the Dávila family. Not only was this fort was built for the added defense of the city of Santo Domingo but more importantly to protect the mansions of the richest inhabitants of the city.

In the colonial times it is important to remember that there were no banks. Each rich family had to protect their treasures on their own. When pillagers and pirates attacked these cities they went directly for the houses of the rich and the churches were important wealth and artifacts were stored. This was the purpose of the high walled Fuerte Invincible.

The high walls of Fuerte Invincible with the Capilla de los Remedios sitting high above.
The high walls of Fuerte Invincible with the Capilla de los Remedios sitting high above.

This foreboding sturdy fort had openings for 12 cannons on both its lower and higher shooting platforms. Looking up the tall walls one could only imagine how strong this fort really was.

The high walls of Fuerte Invincible
The high walls of Fuerte Invincible

Fuerte San Diego

Fuerte San Diego was the 3rd fort entering Rio Ozama. This curved fort was also a busy port of entry for the Colonial City of Santo Domingo. It was a very important part of protecting the walled city from attack from marauders entering the Rio Ozama from the Caribbean Sea.

The walls of the Bateria Fuerte San Diego
The walls of the Bateria Fuerte San Diego

The main part of the fort was destroyed in 1886 to extend the ports. The beautiful fort was reconstructed when the work on the Malecon was finished. The original base of the Fort San Jose was discovered during archaeological excavations.

The curved Fuerte San Diego sandwiched between Ave. El Puerto
The curved Fuerte San Diego sandwiched between Ave. El Puerto

All that stands now is a small part of the fort in the center of la Avenida del Puerto, a few remnants of the walls of the fort and the rebuilt Puerta San Diego.

The curved Fuerte San Diego with its cannons pointing out to Rio Ozama
The curved Fuerte San Diego with its cannons pointing out to Rio Ozama

Puerta de San Diego

In front of the beautiful Puerta de San Diego / Door of San Diego (dated 1549), also called Puerta de la Mar.

In front of the beautiful Puerta de San Diego also called Puerta de la Mar. The large stone pillared entrance above the door are 3 shields
In front of the beautiful Puerta de San Diego also called Puerta de la Mar. The large stone pillared entrance above the door are 3 shields

The large stone pillared entrance Puerta de San Diego was completely restored in 1978. Above the door are 3 shields known as escudos. The Shield of the King / El Escudo del Rey, Shield of Hispaniola / Escudo de la Isla La Española and the Shield of Santo Domingo / el Escudo de la Ciudad de Santo Domingo.

Inside the Puerta San Diego, Plaza España, looking down from the catwalks above.
Inside the Puerta San Diego, Plaza España, looking down from the catwalks above.

As you enter the large stone door you may want to walk on the catwalks over the door and check out the view. Turn right when entering the Puerta San Diego and you will see the stairs leading up to the look-out catwalks. This path over the gate will end in front of the Casa Reales and the Plaza of the Reloj de Sol / Sun Dial.

The wall of the fort Don Diego and Puerta Don Diego is the distance.
The wall of the fort Don Diego and Puerta Don Diego is the distance.

Bateria del Almirante

After the fort of San Diego, continuing along the wall, are the Bateria del Almirante. These batteries were built into and around the walled part of the house of the Admiral or Alcázar de Colón, located strategically on a hill.

The Puerta del San Diego 1910
The Puerta del San Diego 1910

Puerta Atarazana

The Puerta Atarazana was another important entrance to the city from the ports. This large doorway entered into the main shipyard of the city. The Alcazar Colon is where Admiral Columbus lived. From here he could keep an eye on all the goods and supplies as the entered and departed from the city. The catwalk above this gate gives another good view or the Rio Ozama and surrounding areas. It is interesting to note that all the buildings in this area were storage for all the goods that came into the port. Now, these buildings are nice restaurants, bars, museums and colonial homes.

The Puerta Atarazana and the Bateria del Almirante
The Puerta Atarazana and the Bateria del Almirante

This wall of defense connected Fuerte San Diego to the other forts along the Rio Ozama Fuerte Carina and Fuerte Angulo.

The Puerta Atarazana and the Alcazar Colón
The Puerta Atarazana and the Alcazar Colón

Lagoon Tanque

It is interesting to note that at the base of Fuerte Invincible and Fuerte Don Diego was a large lagoon that was fed by the waters of Rio Ozama. The lagoon was known at Tanque / Tank. Some say it played an important part in the defensive belt for the Colonial City. After the Fuerte Ozama with its high walls lined with cannons was the narrow entrance to Rio Ozama and the tall cannon lined wall and firing platforms of Fort El Invincible with the lagoon at its base.

Location

A good starting point is at the Escaleras Calle el Conde / Stairs of Calle el Conde. The beautiful stairs, cut between the old walls of Fuerte Invincible, lead down to the outer walls of the city along Ave. Francisco Alberto Caamaño Deño, also known as the Malecon or Avenida El Puerta. Looking up you can see just how strong these walls were and how they did protect the homes of the wealthy.

The wooden walk along the outside wall of the Fuerte San Diego and the Bateria del Almirante
The wooden walk along the outside wall of the Fuerte San Diego and the Bateria del Almirante

Continue walking along the wall and you will come to a wooden bridge path, this is the beginning of Fuerte San Diego. The path ends at the Puerta San Diego. This door is beautiful with its shield and stone path. The door enters to Plaza España and the Alcazar Colón. If you continue walking on the outside of the wall it will lead to The Bateria del Almirante and the other entrance from the port Puerto Atarazana / Door of the Shipyards. The wall continues past the small police station to Fuerte Carina and Fuerte Angulo and around to Fuerte Santa Barbara.

Reference:
*https://www.diariolibre.com/noticias/ciudad/los-fuertes-en-la-avenida-del-puerto-EE3457969
*https://www.facebook.com/historiadominicanaengraficas/posts/historia-de-la-puerta-de-san-diego-en-la-zona-colonialla-puerta-de-san-diego-loc/527995694065585/

Memorial Sloop Aurora

Memorial Column to the Shipwreck of the Sloop Aurora / Columna Conmemorativa Naufragio Balandra Aurora

On the coral cliffs of Paseo Padre Billini on the coast of Santo Domingo stands a single column pillar. This white pillar is topped with an urn. The Memorial Column to the Shipwreck of the Sloop Aurora. It honors those who lost their lives because of the shipwreck of the sloop Aurora.

Memorial Column to the Shipwreck of the Sloop Aurora / Columna Conmemorativa Naufragio Balandra Aurora
Memorial Column to the Shipwreck of the Sloop Aurora / Columna Conmemorativa Naufragio Balandra Aurora

On Sunday, September 27, 1908 he sloop Aurora was trying to enter the port to escape a torrential storm that was raging in the Caribbean. People watched as the ship crashed and sank off the beach Placer de los Estudios (Playa Placer is located at the mouth of Rio Ozama). The crew clung desperately to a tree as the storm raged on. A few Dominican men tried to rescue these crew members, but all lives were lost.

Located on the coral cliffs of the Caribbean Sea on the Malecon, Santo Domingo is the Memorial Column to the Shipwreck of the Sloop Aurora.
Located on the coral cliffs of the Caribbean Sea on the Malecon, Santo Domingo is the Memorial Column to the Shipwreck of the Sloop Aurora.

The monument dedicated to the memory of the Balandra Arora was built in 1910 to commemorate the tragic loss of lives. There was once a plaque at the bottom of the monument inspired by Federico Henriquez and Carvajal. The plaque read “Al ver la nave zozobrar perdida, un noble razgo les costó la vida” / “When seeing the ship capsize lost, a noble reason cost them the life”. The plaque also included the names of those who lost their lives on Sunday, September 27, 1908. The heroic Dominicans are Casimiro Almonte, José Cuevas, Miguel Veloz, José Maíz and Eusebio Lugo. The crew members of the Balandra Arora who lost their lives are Miguel Pérez, Juan Ramón Mandia and Rican Hilario Martínez.

The Memorial Column to the Shipwreck of the Sloop Aurora.
The Memorial Column to the Shipwreck of the Sloop Aurora.

Did you know? – A sloop / balandra is a sailing boat with a single mast. It typically has one headsail in front of the mast, and one mainsail aft of (behind) the mast.

Location:

Paseo Presidente Padre Billini, better known as the Malecon of Santo Domingo or Avenida George Washington, and Calle Sanchez. The memorial sits on the coral reefs of the Caribbean Sea, Ciudad Colonial, Santo Domingo, Republica Dominicana.

Reference: Imagenes de Nuestra Historia RD – Facebook