Colegio de Gorjón, home of Centro Cultural de España
Colegio de Gorjón/ College or School of Gorjón was a vision of rich landowner and sugar tycoon Hernando de Gorjón. The building was later restored and now is the home of Centro Cultural de España/ Cultural Center of Spain.
Hernando de Gorjón
Hernando de Gorjón came to the island in 1502 on the same expedition that brought Fray Governor Nicholas de Ovando and the Licenciado/ Lawyer Bartolomé de las Casas. Since he did not have any heirs Gorjón decided to build a college for the study of sciences. Sadly, he never got to see his dream completed. The building was finished in 1550, after his death.
University of Santiago De La Paz
In 1583 it was named part of the University of Santiago De La Paz. The university was finally confirmed by Cédula Real in 1741 when Fernando VI gave it recognition as the Universidad de Santo Domingo.
Centro Cultural de España/ Cultural Center of Spain
The Colegio de Gorjón was restored beautifully in the 1970’s by the Comisión de Monumentos de Santo Domingo/ Monument Commission. At this time it was decided to make the building return to its original use and become a center for learning and culture. In 1990 the location was the Centro Cultural Hispánico. Since 1998 to present day The Colegio de Gorjón is the home of the Centro Cultural de España/ Cultural Center of Spain (CCEDS http://www.ccesd.org). It is an institution integrated into the worldwide network of cultural centers of the Spanish Agency of Cooperation the International, AECI.
Many architectural interests of great historic value can be seen throughout the Colegio de Gorjón starting with the main entrance and windows.
The outside of the building can be very deceiving as it looks so plain and simple. Once you enter the front doors the interior is quite large.
Entering the building there is a stone vestibule that represents the Elizabethan period in the New World. It is decorated with several restored shields of arms that were destroyed during the Haitian invasion.
The main room was originally a chapel. Today it is the exhibition hall named in honor of painter and sculptor Antonio Prats Ventós. The Spanish patio is now the place where many outdoor concerts and exhibitions are held. The patio is surrounded by splendid columns and holds about 200 people.
Many of the old classrooms from the original school are now exhibition halls including Sala Maria Ugarte and the Sala Fotográfica. On the second floor is a library, smaller rooms and offices.
Calle Arz. Meriño between Calle Jose Gabriel Garcia and Arz. Portes.
The Casa Francisco de Tostado home was built in the 15th century. This is one of the earliest constructions on the island. This historical Tostado came to the island with Nicholas de Ovando in 1502 making him one of the earliest settlers on the island. He was a writer and father of famous writer Francisco Tostado de la Peña. Francisco was the first person born on the island to become a university professor. He was killed by cannon fire of Pirate Francis Drake in 1586.
The Tostado house is famous for its double window Elizabethan Gothic facade with Moorish influences, one of the most unique windows in all the world.
This historical home ran all the way down to the sea covering an entire city block. The construction of the house is said to be one of a kind.
Inside the rooms are large and spacious and quite lavish. Inside the house there were large gardens and parks. There are exquisite archways located throughout the house. On the top floor tower there is a great view of the sea. The patio is lovely and it is said at one time there was even an orchard inside the walls.
Casa de Tostado has been home to many famous inhabitants of the island. First the Tostado family, including Francisco Rodríguez Franco. At one time it was Archbishop’s Palace. It is now the home of El Museo de la Familia Dominicano / The Museum of the Dominican Family.
Casa del Tostado Legends
There are a few different versions of tragic love stories that are said to have occurred in this famous house. Here are two of them.
One romantic and tragic legend is from the nineteenth century. The father of a beautiful girl was blamed for the tragic death of his daughter.
His daughter had a boyfriend who was a part of the invading army marching in the street below her window. When she saw him marching by she ran to the street to greet her man. Her father went into a rage. He was so angry that he killed his daughters’ boyfriend with his sword.
The distraught girl ran to her lover who was lying on the ground. She held him as he breathed his last breath. Desperate and in pain she ran to the well in the yard and dived in. Falling to the bottom and ending her life.
Another version of the story told to me was that the wealthy owner of the home had many African saves. The daughter fell in love with one of these handsome slaves.
The lovers were secretly meeting on the patio while the father was out. When the father returned to the home unexpectedly the slave went down into the well to hide. He was holding onto the edge of the well waiting for the father to leave. After some time the daughter got her father to leave the patio area.
Finally, when her father left the house, the daughter returned to the patio to see the man she secretly loved and let him know that her father was gone again. She called for him but could not find him anywhere. As a last resort she looked into the well.
It seems that her lover could no longer hold onto the side of the well while waiting for the father to leave the patio. He lost his grip and fell into the well drowning in the water below.
The daughter was so distraught. She went to the top of the tower and threw herself off. She died on the street below.
El Museo de la Familia Dominicano / The Museum of the Dominican Family
The Dominican Republic took over the Tostado House in 1970. The government restored the building and it was opened to the public on August 15, 1973. It was made into a historical monument and now is the home of El Museo de la Familia Dominicano / The Museum of the Dominican Family.
This museum holds many historical documents of the Dominican national heritage showcasing the culture and customs of the Dominican people.
There is an impressive collection of 19th-and 20th-century Victorian wicker and mahogany furniture. Included in the collection are many impressive paintings, drawings, photographs, books and objects of personal use. Some of the works of art in the collection include some of the more important artists of the time.
Inside the home one of the original courtyards still exist. It is a beautiful green tranquil spot where you can sit and reflect. In the center of the patio sits an old well. Make sure to go up the stairs to the tower. You will have a spectacular view of the Colonial Zone.
Could these be the same well and tower that the legends spoke of?
Hours: 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM Monday thru Saturday. Closed Sundays
Cost: $100 pesos for general public (2008).
The corner of Calle Padre Billini and Arzobispo Meriño just beyond the Cathedral of Santo Domingo.
also known as Casa de la Moneda / House of Currencies and El Museo Numismático Dominicano / The Numismatic Museum Dominicano
This historical house is believed to date from the first half of the sixteenth century. Its building coincided with the completion of the Cathedral around 1540.
It is named House of Medallions because of the five medallions with the human faces inside. There is one face above each pillar and the other three are centered above the doorway. The center face, an adolescent face with a hairstyle of that period, is thought to be the face of King Carlos the Fifth. Some say the other faces are the Kings faces also depicting different his different ages.
The homes original inhabitants are unknown. It is thought to have been the home of some rich government employee.
The story goes that this building is where silver coins were minted. This is not true. There was another building in front of this house where coins were minted. That building was demolished long ago.
Casa de los Medallones was restored in 1972 and is home to El Museo Numismático Dominicano / The Numismatic Museum Dominicano.
The street where this historical home is located is now called Arz. Meriño. The original street name was Calle Los Piateros translated as Silversmith’s Street.
Arzobispo Meriño #358 between Calle Mercedes and Emiliano Tejera. The house is across from the City Council parking lot.
All You Want To Know About The Oldest City In The Americas