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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Palacio Consistorial, located in the Colonial City / Ciudad Colonial of Santo Domingo, was the original location of the old town hall. It is the oldest Town Hall in The Americas. Not only has this historical building witnessed unrivaled events in the history of The Dominican Republic, but it is also the place where many of the most important decisions of the country have been made.
The Palacio Consistorial was built between 1502 and 1504. It has been remodeled many times during its lifetime in which much of the original facade has been hidden and covered over.
The Palace was remodeled between 1911 and 1913 by the architect Osvaldo Báez Machado (Machado also remodeled the Iglesia de la Altagracia and The Hospital Padre Billini). He changed the edificio to have a neoclassical style that was very popular at that time.
The porch on the ground level runs along the entire building and the second floor boasts a large curved corner balcony and small balconies with iron railing.
Museo de la Villa de Santo Domingo
The interior of the Consistorial, also known as the Museo de la Villa de Santo Domingo, has a large central patio. It is exquisite with the beautiful fountain and surrounding terraces. An elegant staircase rises to the second floor. Along with the busts of the Padres de la Patria (Juan Pablo Duarte, Francisco del Rosario Sanchez and Ramon Matias Mella), there is a beautiful antique grand piano and crystal chandeliers.
In 1939 the exiled Spanish Architect Tomas Auñón made the interior woodwork and trim. In 1944, José Vela Zanneti (May 27, 1913 – January 4, 1999), the great Spanish muralist, made the mural that tells the history of the city. Starting with the loves of Miguel y Catalina up to the Era of Trujillo. The art emphasizes the San Zenón Hurricane that in 1930 marked the beginning of the 31 years of Trujillo’s dictatorship.
The most notable aspect of this historic building, the 95 foot high (29 meter) clock tower / torre del reloj. The tower was added during the time of Trujillo. The top of the tower has a crowned dome known as El Vivaque. The tower has a clock on its front that in old times was an important time peace in the city. Now, it is just for show.
For years the building was part of the Banco de Trabajadores. For a time it was a jail and a police station. Now the building houses Ayuntamiento del Distrito Nacional. It is also a beautiful and elegant space for art exhibitions and cultural activities.
This tower of the Consistorial Palace is an iconic part of the Colonial Zone. If you lose your way in the Colonial Area just look to the sky for this tower with the clock (usually the clock is not working). This unique tower can be seen from most of the surrounding Colonial Zone area. If you become lost or can’t remember how to get back to the Conde just locate the tower and head towards it.
– The building and its tower look like it is leaning towards the street. This, I am told, is an optical illusion.
The Consistorial Palace and the Museo de la Villa de Santo Domingo is on the corner of Calle El Conde and Arzobispo Meriño, at Parque Colon. Just look up and you will see the distinctive tower.
Ruinas Del Hospital San Nicolás de Bari/ Ruins of the Hospital San Nicolas de Bari
The Hospital San Nicolás de Bari, located in the Colonial City of Santo Domingo, was built between 1503 and 1508 by order of the Governor Nicolas de Ovando. It was the first hospital and church built from stone in the New World and is a UNESCO World Heritage protected site.
The Templo y Hospital of San Nicolas de Bari was originally built in November 1503. It was located in the original settlement on the other side of Rio Ozama. When the settlement moved the hospital was rebuilt at its present location. It is said that the hospital was built atop the home of a black woman who nursed the sick.
Governor Nicolas de Ovando ordered the hospital to be rebuilt promptly because there was such a great need. Sickness and disease were prevalent due to the heat, insects and lack of medicines and treatment knowledge. The hospital and doctors center along with the adjoining church, Iglesia Altagracia, was funded entirely by contributions from the more affluent people of the colony.
Changes Throughout The Years
The original hospital was a palm hut. The ladies of the colony who had the desire would come and take care of the sick as a charity offering. This palm building was only able to hold about six patients.
A stone building replaced the original palm structure in 1519. Construction of this state of the art hospital made of stone and brick was complete in 1527. Only a small chapel remains of the second building.
The third hospital was built from 1533 to 1556. It was much larger and could hold about fifty patients. This building took a beating from the Pirate Francis Drake in 1586. The profiteer burned and destroyed the medical center and stole its contents including documents and many treasures of the church.
San Nicolás de Bari also served as a military hospital but continued to disintegrate due to hurricanes and earthquakes. Even though the building was in ill repair it continued to be used.
Finally, after the Restoration in 1863, the hospital was abandoned and left to decay. The walls were further destroyed when the chapel, the Nuestra Señora de la Altagracia, adjoining the decaying hospital was rebuilt in the 1930’s. At this time some walls were knocked down because they were in danger of falling.
San Nicolas de Bari Today
Now, when you enter what is left of the walls of the hospital you can still see a cross-shaped outline on the faded blue floor tile. The holes in the interior walls are nesting homes for the local pigeon and parrot population (they get very loud during mating season). On the exterior wall high up is a very large active beehive.
From Calle el Conde turn away from the sea onto Calle Hostos. The Ruins and Iglesia Altagracia are located between Calle Mercedes and Calle Luperón.
All You Want To Know About The Oldest City In The Americas
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