Category Archives: Churches / Iglesias

Panteón Nacional

Panteón Nacional, República Dominicana/ National Pantheon, Dominican Republic

The Panteón Nacional, also know by the names Panteón de la Patria, National Mausoleum or Pantheon of the Homeland, was originally a Jesuit Convent. The National Pantheon is now the mausoleum that houses the remains of many of the national heroes of the Dominican Republic.

The Panteón Nacional
The Panteón Nacional of Dominican Republic with it’s Neo-Renaissance style.

Church of the Jesuits

Constructed between 1715 and 1745 this Rococo style building was originally the Jesuits Convent/ Convento de San Igancio de Loyola for the Jesuits. It was the Jesuits home until 1767 when they were expelled from the country.

After the church was closed the building was used as a tobacco warehouse, a theater and a government office building.

The Panteón Nacional, Dominican Republic.
The Panteón Nacional, Dominican Republic. The back window.

Restoring The Building For Trujillo

The Dominican Republic dictator Rafael Leonidas Trujillo, in 1958, had the building repaired. Spanish architect Javier Barroso was hired to restore the building so it could be used as Trujillo’s personal mausoleum.

Trujillo planned on having his remains interred in the restored building when he died. His dream never happened. In 1961, after his assassination, Trujillo’s body was removed from the country. The building never held his remains.

The National Pantheon, Dominican Republic.
The National Pantheon, Dominican Republic interior

National Mausoleum

In the 1970’s the old Jesuit Convent was converted into the Panteón Nacional. A national mausoleum where many heroes of the Republic are laid to rest, including Trujillo’s assassins.

The architectural style of this majestic looking building is Neo-Renaissance. The facade of the building is very impressive with the bell tower and the Dominican Coat of Arms beautifully sculpted above the door.

Panteón Nacional, República Dominicana. Front of the building.
Panteón Nacional, República Dominicana. Front of the building.

The interior of the Panteon has a Baroque style. The red carpet down the center with a guard on duty watching over the persons interred and the eternal flame both provide a very reverent feel when entering the building. The light coming through the large glass window in the rear of the building adds a lovely light to the solemn interior. The copper chandelier in the center ceiling of the mausoleum, donated by Francisco Franco (a Spanish head of state), is quite elegant.

The National Pantheon, Dominican Republic mural
The National Pantheon, Dominican Republic mural of the Ascension to Heaven

Painted on one of the vaulted ceilings is a stunning mural. This impressive sacred art is called “Ascensión a los Cielos” / “Ascension to Heaven” and “El Juicio Final” / “The Last Judgement” by Spanish painter Rafael Pellicer.

The National Pantheon, Dominican Republic chandelier
The National Pantheon, Dominican Republic. The chandelier donated by Francisco Franco

Heroes Interred (2012)

The Panteón Nacional contains the remains of many of the national heroes of Dominican Republic.

Independence Heroes (from Spain and Haiti): General Juan Sanchez Ramirez, Jose Nunez de Caceres, Juan Nepomuceno Ravelo, Pedro Alejandrino Pina, Juan Isidro Perez, Felix Maria Ruiz, Maria Trinidad Sanchez, Socorro Sanchez, Balbina de Pena, Admiral Juan Alejandro Acosta, Admiral Juan Bautista Cambiaso, Concepcion Bona, General Jose Joaquin Puello, General Jose Maria Gabral, Gabino Puello, Angel Perdomo, General Pedro Santana.

The Panteón Nacional
The Panteón Nacional of República as seen from Rio Ozama.

Heroes of the Restoration (Independence from Spain): General Gregorio Luperon, General Benito Moncion, General Santiago Rodriguez, General Gaspar Polanco, General Antonio Batista, Colonel Jose Pierre Thomas, Colonel Carlos de Lara, Commander Jose Vidal Pichardo, Ulises Francisco Espaillat, Lieutenant Ambrosio de la Cruz, Eugenio Perdomo, Pedro Ignacio Espaillat, General Jose Antonio Salcedo, Pedro Francisco Bono and Benigno Filomeno de Rojas.

Presidents: President Francisco Henriquez Carvajal and President Francisco Gregorio Billini

Historians: Jose Gabriel Garcia, Antonio Delmonte y Tejada

Panteón Nacional located on Calle Las Damas.
Panteón Nacional located on Calle Las Damas.

Location – Hours

Location: From Calle el Conde turn north onto Calle las Damas. Pass the small Plaza Maria Toledo on the left side of the street. The wall of the Panteón runs along the end of the plaza.

Hours: 9 to 4:30 daily except holidays. Entrance is free. Proper dress is required (no shorts, short skirts, tank tops…) and they expect reverence when you enter the building.

Front of the Panteón Nacional before it opens
Front of the Panteón Nacional before it opens with the tour guides preparing for their day.

Be aware of the tour guides outside the building. They tell you that it does not cost money to enter. If you do use their guide services they expect to be paid but usually do not tell you that they expect to be paid until after the tour. You can enter without a guide but if you do want to use a guide ask about how much he wants paid in advance.

Iglesia de San Miguel

Iglesia de San Miguel / Church Of San Miguel

Iglesia de San Miguel is named after the mighty archangel Saint Michael. The church is a small eighteenth-century temple that evolved from a sixteenth-century chapel.

The front of the Iglesia San Miguel
The front of the Iglesia San Miguel and a view of the Parque San Miguel.

Iglesia de San Miguel

The first mention of this church was in 1650. It was first constructed entirely of straw and in 1740 the temple was built with solid materials by order the Royal Treasurer of the Colony, Don Miguel de Pasamonte. At this time it was one of the richest chapels in the city.

Iglesia San Miguel
The front of the Iglesia San Miguel.

Destroyed By Earthquake

The building was almost entirely destroyed in the big earthquake in 1751, as were many of the buildings in Colonial Zone. The Iglesia was entirely rebuilt in 1765 in a bad attempt at Baroque style. It was used as a parish during the construction boom of this era.

The side wall of the Iglesia San Miguel
The side wall of the Iglesia San Miguel along Calle Juan Isidro Perez

Home of Black Brotherhoods

The church ended up being located in “the black section” of town. In 1784 the building was to be a hospital for slaves. The decree was never followed and it never happened. Then, in 1796, it was decreed that San Miguel be called the Código Negro Carolino, the home of all the black brotherhoods. These African slaves and blacks who lived in this sector chose the warrior figure because they saw in the Archangel San Miguel a figure that would defend them from the white demons.

The interior of the Iglesia San Miguel
The interior of the Iglesia San Miguel
Arcángel San Miguel
Inside the Iglesia San Miguel, Arcángel San Miguel, The Defender of the People.

Arcángel San Miguel

With his sword held high, the image of Arcángel San Miguel located in the front of the church is impressive. This wood carving is thought to be from the late seventeenth century and belonged to the old hermitage. Archangel Saint Michael is the Angel who defends the people against Satan and is the prince of all the heavenly armies. The leader of God’s chosen army, he is the guardian angel and the protector of the Catholic Church.

Festival of San Miguel
Festival of San Miguel in the Barrio San Miguel, Colonial Zone

Festival of San Miguel

The festival of the Patron Saint San Miguel is held here every year on September 29th. Here is a link to a video on You Tube – Festival San Miguel Palos Music 2014

Parque San Miguel
Parque San Miguel

Location:

From Calle el Conde turn north (up the hill) onto José Reyes. Walk about 4 blocks to Juan Isidro Pérez near Calle Restauracion. It is in front of the nice tree filled park Parque San Jose.

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 The Guardia del Presidente are exercising in the Plaza

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