The Fuerte de la Carena and Fuerte de Angulo are difficult to tell apart as they seem to be interconnected. When the Malecon (Avenida del Puerto Francisco Alberto Camaaño Deñó) was built much of both of these forts were destroyed and lost forever.
You can walk along the walls of the city of Santo Domingo, now known as Colonial Zone, and see where these forts once were. There are still some catwalks atop the walls where you can walk and see over the walls. Looking down from the walls of these forts you can see the Malecon and the legendary trunk of the Ceiba de Colón
Fort of the Carena is a small rectangular bunker located to the north of Fuerte de Angulo. The original structure dates back to 1543. This is part of the Fort of Santo Domingo where boats were brought for repair.
The fort was rebuilt on its original foundation in 1991.
Directions: Avenida del Puerto and General Cabral
Fuerte de Angulo
Fuerte de Angulo was a military station and was originally named the Fuertecillo. The fort was reconstructed in 1991.
You can see the walls of this fort as you enter the Colonial Zone on Avenida del Puerto crossing the Puente Flotante / Floating Bridge and looking to the right.
Directions: Avenida del Puerto and Juan Parra Alba, Barrio Santa Barbara.
Iglesia y El Fuerte de Santa Bárbara / Church and Fort of Santa Barbara
Iglesia de Santa Bárbara / Church of Santa Barbara
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
: 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.
The Fuerte San Gil, one time names Fuerte del Matadero / Slaughterhouse Fort, is a 3-sided polygon fort. It was built between 1503 and 1510. This important fort was the first part of the defense of the walled city of Santo Domingo now called Zona Colonial or Ciudad Colonial.
This fortification was a very important bastion to protect the city from Pirate and marauder attack. The watchtower was located on the far corner of the fort. It gave a perfect view of any ship coming from the Caribbean Sea trying to enter the ports of the city. The tower also gave a great view of the sand patch below. This beach is riddled with caves that are excellent places for hiding.
In 1887 the original fort collapsed
due to rough seas. The fort was recently renovated. The renovation closely replicates the original. The area has been cleaned up and again is a nice place to visit.
The fort was ignored for many years and was in disrepair. The beach below was piled high with garbage and was home to stray dogs and homeless people who made the coral caves below their home.
There is a grassy area beside the Fort San Gil. It is a nice place to sit and watch the sea.
There used to be a restaurant located inside the fort. The barbecue pit can still be seen in the center of the old fort.
The Southwest most part of Zona Colonial where the Zone meats up with Ciudad Nueva. The fort is on the Malecón (Avenida George Washington) at the intersection of Palo Hincado. The bright white Obelisco Hembra is in the front of the fort. Be careful when crossing the Malecon. Pedestrians DO NOT have the right or way.
All You Want To Know About The Oldest City In The Americas
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