Category Archives: Churches / Iglesias

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

Iglesia Regina Angelorum

Iglesia y Convento Regina Angelorum / Church and Convent of Regina Angelorum

Iglesia y Convento Regina Angelorum is the first building made exclusively for the Dominican nuns (monjas dominicanas). When six nuns arrived in 1560 the Convent of Santa Clara was the only convent in the city that belonged to the Franciscan sisters. They needed another convent in which to live. They had this convent built.

Front of the Church and Convent Regina Angelorum

The original convent and place of worship for these six Dominican nuns was nothing more than a plain room. By 1567 they had begun construction on a more appropriate temple on land donated by Maria de Arana.

Side door of the Church Regina Angelorum

The nuns of Regina Angelrum had to emigrate to Havana, Cuba, because of the Treaty of Basel in December 1795. In 1820 the surviving nuns returned to Hispaniola. Then, in 1866, President Cabral turned the building over to Father Billini (his remains are located in the church).

Iglesia Regina Angelorum

Padre Billini started the School San Luis de Gonzaga in this location. Later, the convent was reconstructed and turned into an institute for the ladies of Salomé Ureña. The first female poets in the New World, Leonor de Ovando and Elvira de Mendoza, once lived here. Since 1916 the Mercedarias nuns have occupied the building.

Iglesia Regina Angelorum interior

Recent History

The original structure was replaced with the building that is there now. This newer temple had its foundation laid in 1714. It was completed in 1722.

Interior domed ceiling of the Iglesia y Convento Regina Angelorum

The Iglesia and Convento Regina Angelorum is one of the best preserved churches in the city. It is also one of the most beautiful with its 17th century Gothic style vaults and ornamentation. Inside this beautiful church near one of its alters is a wall of silver.

Silver wall of the Iglesia Regina Angelorum

Hours:

Monday thru Saturday 9AM to 6PM. To enter you must have permission from the nuns that reside within.

Church Regina Angelorum on Calle Padre Billini

Location:

From Calle el Conde turn south onto Calle José Reyes. Walk 2 blocks to Calle Padre Billini.

Iglesia – Fuerte Santa Barbara

Iglesia y El Fuerte de Santa Bárbara / Church and Fort of Santa Barbara

Iglesia de Santa Bárbara / Church of Santa Barbara

Iglesia y Fuerte de Santa Bárbara

This is one of the oldest churches with a fort built in the colonial period and is a UNESCO World Historical Site. The church and fort were built separately. The church was constructed in 1537 and the fort came later.

The church is a single long building with five distinct sections, as can be seen from the outside of the building. The original church building was made of royal palm. Later, in 1537, it was rebuilt in stone. The blocks were quarried from this very site as were the stone blocks for many monuments and buildings of the era.

Church and Fort Santa Bárbara

The building has been damaged many times throughout its history. Both the Fuerte and Iglesia were heavily damaged by a hurricane in 1591. Then earthquakes in 1673 and 1684 did extensive damage to the Iglesia. The Pirate Francis Drake did severe damage to the church when he invaded the island in 1586. Each time the church was repaired something new was added to the structure. It is interesting to note that the ceiling of this historical monument is still covered with the original bricks.

Juan Pablo Duarte was baptised in the Iglesia Santa Bárbara

The Iglesia Santa Barbara boasts to be the place where Juan Pablo Duarte, The Father of the Nation, was baptized on February 14, 1813.

El Fuerte de Santa Bárbara / Fort of Santa Barbara

Fuerte de Santa Bárbara shooting platform

The Fort of Santa Barbara is the only fort with a church inside. The church was built first and later when the fort was built both structures were incorporated together. This is a very unique thing to have a fort and church entwined. The bunker for the fort is attached to the church.

The city of Santo Domingo was a walled city but the north section of the city did not have walls built until 1686. Building the fort in this furthest section of the city was an important step in the fortification of the city.

Fuerte de Santa Bárbara shooting platform cannons

This fort was part of the third stage of protection for the city. Construction began in the early 1540’s and the final phase was completed in the early 1700’s. It was designed by an Italian builder and a Spanish stone cutter. The fort and church, as with most of the Spanish settlement, was build by slave labor by African and the Indigenous island dwellers.

The end of the 17th century brought constant attacks to the all the Antilles Islands. This fort was a bunker facing the mouth of the river Ozama thus giving it an excellent view of the entry port. It was a very strategic location for the strength of the city of Santo Domingo.

Santa Barbara Today

Santa Barbara street art

The barrio of Santa Barbara where the fort and church are located is a good place to visit. It is a typical barrio has a very typical small town feel. There is some great art work and graffiti covering the walls of many of the buildings. Many of these buildings are in need of repair and are abandoned but the art work on many of these buildings in incredible.

Iglesia y Fuerte de Santa Bárbara side wall held up with bars

The church is in disrepair. There are metal bars holding up the outside wall. It has been under renovation for many years and still the work is not completed.

The view from high atop Fuerte de Santa Bárbara shooting platform

If you visit Santa Barbara make sure to climb up the ramp to the top of the shooting wall of the Fuerte Santa Barbara. The wall is lined with cannons. The catwalk along the wall is usually grown up with weeds and the side towards the river is blocked off. There is a very nice view of the and the Rio Ozama from the top of the fort wall.

Location

: From Calle el Conde go south up Calle Isabel la Católica or Calle Arzobispo Meriño (both of these streets lead to this monument). Walk about 6 blocks almost to Av. Mella at the far end of the walled city, Colonial Zone.

Contact -809-682-3307