Category Archives: Buildings-Monuments

Casa Reales and Museo

Las Casas Reales/ The Royal Houses

The Museo / Museum

Location, Hours and Cost

The fusion of three different colonial houses come together to form the Casa Reales. It is home to a very informative museum and collection of weapons once owned by the Dictator Rafael Leónidas Trujillo Molina.

Casa Reales seen from Rio Ozama

History

The original house, built in 1508, was a property of the treasurer Cristóbal de Santa Clara. A few years later it was confiscated for debts and became the property of the of the crown.

Casa Reales front entrance

The Casa de Contratación, an adjacent property, was built in the year 1504 and became the residence of the Governor or Captain General of the island.

In the 1520s

the space between these two buildings was filled and the 3 buildings became one, a palace dedicated to La Real Audiencia de Santo Domingo / The Royal Audience of Santo Domingo.

The original three buildings were occupied by el Gobernador / Governor, Presidente de la Real Audiencia / President of the Royal Audience and El Capitán General / Captain General. By the end of the 1500s the three buildings were put together because all the offices were held by the same person.

Casa Reales side window

This building was home to the government palace until the Trujillo Era when the new Government Palace was built. Then President Joaquín Balaguer restored the building and converted the buildings into a Historical Museum.

Casa Reales window above the front entrance.

The arched gothic style windows on the second floor was where the Royal Court was held. It gave a perfect view of the Sun Dial in the plaza. This is how the court knew the correct time to write on the official documents.

Reloj del Sol in front of Casa Reales

The Museum

Museo Casa Reales Coach and typical dress

Casa Reales Museo was created by President Balaguer and opened to the public on October 18, 1973. The museum is dedicated to everything related to the periods of discovery, conquest and colonization of the island and its relationship with the rest of the American continent.

Casa Reales Museo model of Columbus ship

This powerful building has many beautiful architectural styles. The huge ground floor windows keep the buildings fresh by letting the cool breezes flow through its luxurious stone and coral walls.

Casa Reales Museo one of the courtrooms.

There is a replica of a colonial courtroom and many exhibits in the museum including the coat of arms of Spain.

Underneath the stone staircase is a large globe of the world with a horse on his hind lags ready to leap. Here is written in Latin: Non sufficit orbis (The world is not large enough).

Casa Reales Museo suit of armor at the entrance.

The museum also houses Trujillo’s weapons collection.

Casa Reales Museo weapons collection.

The beautiful interior courtyards are perfect for taking a breath of fresh air. The statue of Fray Alonso de Zuazohold looms in thge center of one of the pation and also you just might spot a peacock or two strutting around the large beautiful interior patio.

Casa Reales Museo peacock.

Location, Hours and Cost

: Calle las Damas and the beginning of Las Mercedes The Plaza del Reloj Sol is in front and it is connected to Plaza España. Phone: 809-682-4202.

Entrance to the museum (2016) RD$20 for adults and RD$20 for children.

Hours: 9:00-5:00 – Closed on Mondays

Casa de los Dávila / Capilla de los Remedios

Casa de los Dávila

and the

Capilla de los Remedios

/ House of Dávila and The Chapel of Remedies was one of the most modern and complete houses of its time. It was built Siglo XVI / The 16th century.

Casa de los Dávila on Calle las Damas
Casa de los Dávila on Calle las Damas

Casa de los Dávila

was the residence of don Francisco Dávila, the richest families on the island at this time. It was one of the most modern and complete houses of its time. The house has a bunker built into the wall and was connected to Fuerte El Invencible. The house was later integrated into the Casa de Ovando/ House of Ovando where the Hotel Nicolás de Ovando is now.

Casa de los Dávila
Casa de los Dávila

The Casa de los Dávila is one of the few homes in the city to have its own private chapel,

Capilla de los Remedios

. The chapel was built to house the remains of his family. This is where the body of Francisco Dávila is interred.

Capilla de los Remedios
Capilla de los Remedios

The chapels architectural style is Mudejar, created by the Muslims. The interior structure holds a small temple in the shape of a cross with a vaulted brick ceiling. The outside of the chapel has a bell tower made of brick that has a spectacular view of the port. At the time it was built the tower also displayed he families’ coat of arms/ escudo de armas which was destroyed by Boyers who led the invading Haitian troupes in 1830.

Capilla de los Dávilas as seen from Plaza Reloj de Sol
Capilla de los Dávilas as seen from Plaza Reloj de Sol

This small but important chapel was damaged many times throughout history and has always been rebuilt. In 1853 the chapel was damaged by a lightning strike then in 1930 by a hurricane.

The chapel fell into ruins by 1872 and stayed this way until three friends, known as The Three Johns/ Los tres Juanes, decided that this building could be saved. They were Don Juan Alejandro Acosta, DonJuan F. Travieso, both heroes of Independence, and Don Juan Pumarol. These three men got permission from the vicar of the Archdiocese to do the restoration. Finally, March 1884, the work on the little chapel completed and it was blessed.

The view of the Chapel from below.
The view of the Chapel from below.

The chapel has been repaired as needed and updated with air conditioning and other niceties. When you find the doors open be sure to visit, take a seat on one of the wooden benches, and relax for a few minutes. It is used for concerts and exhibitions.

Casa de los Dávilas on Calle las Damas
Casa de los Dávilas on Calle las Damas

Directions

: The Casa de los Dávila is located on Calle Las Damas # 57. The Capilla de los Remedios is on one side of the house and the Hostal Nicolas de Ovando on the other.

Walk east on Calle el Conde to Calle Las Damas. Turn left (north) walk about 2 blocks and it is the last building on the right before the Plaza del Sol Reloj / Plaza of the Sun Dial and Plaza España. If you come from Calle Las Mercedes and walk towards the River you will run directly into the chapel.

Casa de los Dávila and Capilla de los Remedios as seen from Calle las Mercedes
Casa de los Dávila and Capilla de los Remedios as seen from Calle las Mercedes

Casa de las Academias

Casa de las Academias/ House of the Academies or Casa de Lilís

Casa de las Academias is known as the Seat of the Academies of History, Language and Sciences/ Sede de las Academias de Historia, de la Lengua y de la Ciencias.

Casa de Lilís home of the Casa de las Academias

Academies

The Dominican Academy of Language was founded October 12, 1927 to ensure the functions of language development. The Dominican Academy of History dedicated to the area of history was founded 23 July 1931 to provide research and studies of Dominican history, search, sort and classify data and documents and to provide information and documentation to people who do research on history. The Academy of Sciences of the Dominican Republic was established on December 20, 1974 to promote the development of science in the Dominican Republic.

Casa de Lilís, home of the Casa de las Academias

Casa de Lilís

The house was constructed in 2 different centuries thus the different styles. Originally President Ulises Hereaux (Lilís) occupied the home. It was later remodeled by Manuel Maria Gautier. He had a balcony and the iron railings added to the design in the French tradition. This beautiful building has also been the home of Receptoria de Aduana/ Customs Receiving, Banco Central/ Central Bank, Logia Masónic/ Masonic Lodge among others.

Directions: Calle Las Mercedes #204, Zona Colonial.