Category Archives: Parks and Plazas

Fuerte and Parque San José

Fuerte y Parque de San José/ Fort and Park San Jose

The Fuerte San José is a beautifully restored fort located in the historic Colonial City. The Parque San Jose is a well-kept park. It is the perfect place to relax. You can watch some young people do some skateboarding or enjoy a game of basketball all under the beautiful shade trees located throughout the park.

Fuerte San José | Parque San José | Location

Fuerte de San José, shooting platform, cannons and watchtowers with the view of the Monument Montecino.
Fuerte de San José, shooting platform, cannons and watchtowers with the view of the Monument Montecino.

The Fuerte San José

was part of a series of bastions built to defend the walled city of Santo Domingo in the 16th century. It was part of the walls that ran along the Caribbean Sea and was an important part of the protection from attacks by sea.

The rectangular shaped fort San José
The rectangular shaped fort San José

Fuerte San José was built near the mouth of the Rio Ozama. The strategic placement of this fort was to watch the comings and goings at the mouth of Rio Ozama. The rectangular shaped fort has an artillery platform that was equipped on 3 sides with cannons. Its two watchtowers (garitas redondas) lookout out points gave a great view of the surrounding sea and land. There was also a lighthouse located in the fort at the entrance to the Rio Ozama that guided ships into the mouth of the river.

Fort San José and the Faro (lighthouse) in the early 1900's.
Fort San José and the Faro (lighthouse) in the early 1900’s.

It is important to remember that the road (The Malecon) in front of the fort did not exist at that time. It was built later by President-Dictator Trujillo. During the time of the colonization of Santo Domingo the water came up to the walls of these seaside forts. Now the walls are surrounded by a road.

Looking to Fort San José from the front.
Looking to Fort San José from the front.

Construction of Fort San Jose began in the mid 1500’s and took over 2 centuries to complete. The walls were built first by president Alonso de Fuenmayor who had some serious money problems and could not complete construction. Finally, at the beginning of the 17th century, the wall of this important fort was finished. Finishing the wall ensured that the seafront was fully protected by connecting the forts San Gil, San Fernando, San Carlos, Santa Catalina to San José. San Gil and San José were the largest of these forts that provided the main defense of the city of Santo Domingo.

View of Fuerte and Parque San José from Calle 19 de Marzo
View of Fuerte and Parque San José from Calle 19 de Marzo

Parque San José

In the 1940’s the deteriorating fort was restored and a beautiful shaded park was created surrounding the bastion. Parque San José is a place where locals like to gather to enjoy a time of rest and to visit friends and family. There are all types of nice places for you to sit and relax and enjoy the view.

Friends, family and pets enjoying the shade in Parque San José.
Friends, family and pets enjoying the shade in Parque San José.
Parque San José. Relax and enjoy the view.
Parque San José. Relax and enjoy the view.
The view of Montecinos from Fuerte San José
The view of Montecinos from Fuerte San José

You can climb the shooting ramp to the elevated platform of the old Fort San José. Here you can have a perfect view of the statue of Fray Anton de Montecino.

Parque San José Ornamental Fountain
Parque San José Ornamental Fountain

Located in the center of the larger part of the park is an Ornamental Fountain that the United States gifted to the Dominican Republic. It was placed here to mark the 100 year centennial anniversary of the country’s independence and the expulsion of the Haitian government from the country.

Fuerte San José and the Japanese Agricultural Immigration Monument and the Skateboard Park
Fuerte San José and the Japanese Agricultural Immigration Monument and the Skateboard Park

Facing Ave. George Washington in the park is the Japanese Agricultural Immigration Monument. You can see this beautiful monument that symbolizes the arrival of Japanese Immigrants to Dominican Republic.

Fort San Jose Basketball court and Skateboard parks.
Fort San Jose Basketball court and Skateboard parks.

There is Montecino Skateboard Park in the Parque San José located on the Malecon near to Calle Arz Meriño. You can see many skate events or watch someone having a good time skating on the ramps and jumps of the park. You can always bring your board and have a go.

Under the street Jose Gabriel Garcia is The Cueva de las Golondrinas next to the Basketball Court
Under the street Jose Gabriel Garcia is The Cueva de las Golondrinas next to the Basketball Court

A Basketball Court is also located in the park on the corners of The Malecon, Calle Arz Meriño and Jose Gabriel Garcia where you can watch the game from above. If you go down to the court level there are small rooms under the street. This is known as The Cueva de las Golondrinas / Cave of Swallows. This is an underground storage place for equipment, street signs and there is a small police station.

Fortaleza and Parque San José along Calle Jose Gabriel Garcia.
Fortaleza and Parque San José along Calle Jose Gabriel Garcia.

Location:

From Calle El Conde walk towards the sea on Calle 19 de Marzo or Meriño to the Malecon. The Fort – Park is located between these 2 streets running along the Malecon in front of the monument Fray Anton de Montesino. Between Avenida George Washington (Paseo Presidente Billini – Malecon) and Jose Gabriel Garcia and Calle 19 de Marzo, Ciudad Colonial.

Parque Pellerano Castro – Parque Rosado

Parque Alfredo Pellerano Castro – Parque Rosado

Arturo Bautista Pellerano CastroPoet Julia de Burgos

The relaxing parque Pellerano Castro also known as Parque Rosado
The relaxing parque Pellerano Castro also known as Parque Rosado

Located in a quiet part of Ciudad Colonial is the nice little Plaza Parque Pellerano Castro. It is also known by the locals as Parque Rosado / Pink Park and Parquecito De Los Poetas / Poets Park. Whatever you call it, this out of the way park is a nice place to rest relax.

Nice private benches for relaxing at Parque Rosado
Nice private benches for relaxing at Parque Rosado

The park had a make-over in the 1990s and was remodeled by the architect Manuel S. Gautier. Parque Rosdao /Pink Park, named such because it is painted a soft pink color, is a perfect place to rest in peace and quiet. There are many benches located under beautiful shade trees with hanging creepers giving this park a unique feeling. The other edges of the park have banana, avocado and mango trees. You can also see some chickens running around from time to time. If you’re lucky you may get to meet some of the local dogs who make this park their home.

The local dogs visiting the place where the bust of Pellerano Castro once stood in the park that is his namesake.
The local dogs visiting the place where the bust of Pellerano Castro once stood in the park that is his namesake.

Arturo Bautista Pellerano Castro

This quiet park is named after the poet Arturo Bautista Pellerano Castro, who was also known by the pseudonym of Byron, born in Curazao March 13, 1865 and died in Santo Domingo May 5, 1916. There once was a bust of the poet located in the park. There is a stand where the poets bust was once located with a plaque that commemorates the poet and has a few of his quotes.

The bust of Poet Julia de Burgos in Parque Rosado.
The bust of Poet Julia de Burgos in Parque Rosado.

Poet Julia de Burgos

(February 17, 1914 – July 6, 1953 (she died of pneumonia in Harlem at the age of 39))

The newest addition to the park is a bust of Julia de Burgos, created by sculpture René Alejandro Guzmán, and inaugurated February 6, 2014.

A close-up of the bust of Poet Julia de Burgos in Parque Rosado
A close-up of the bust of Poet Julia de Burgos in Parque Rosado

Burgos, a playwright, poet, journalist and activist, is considered to be the most outstanding Puerto Rican poet of the twentieth century. She hung in the circles of intellectuals like Juan Bosch and Dominican politician Juan Isidro Jiménez Grullón, who became an inspiration of many of her best poems. She was a fighter against political injustice. In 1944 she wrote two poems for the centenary of the country: “A la Ciudad Primada de Santo Domingo” and “Hymn to the Blood of Trujillo”.

More of the story of Julia de Burgos.

Plaza Pellerano Castro under the soft lights at 5AM.
Plaza Pellerano Castro under the soft lights at 5AM.

Location: Walking from the eastern end of the Conde turn right towards the sea (north) on Calle Isabel la Católica or Calle Las Damas. Walk to the end of either of these streets and you will run into the park. Located at the intersections of Calles José Gabriel García, Arzobispo Meriño, Isabel La Católica in the Colonial Zone.

Plaza de la Poesía

Plaza de la Poesía / Plaza of the Poetry

The Plaza de la Poesía was build to honor the Dominican poet Salomé Ureña de Henríquez (1850 – 1897). This small cozy plaza was inaugurated during the III Festival de Poesía de Santo Domingo on October 2011 to mark the importance of poetry and reading in the country.

The statue of Salomé Ureña de Henríquez in the Plaza de la Poesía.
The statue of Salomé Ureña de Henríquez in the Plaza de la Poesía.

This small intimate plaza is the perfect place to get away from it all. A quiet place to sit, think or read. In years gone by this area was full of chaos and commotion. The gate next to the park is the Puerta Atarazana which was the entrance to the shipyards and warehouse of the Atarazanas.

Plaza de la Poesía, the perfect place to relax.
Plaza de la Poesía, the perfect place to relax.
Plaza de la Poesía with the Alcazar Colón in the background.
Plaza de la Poesía with the Alcazar Colón in the background.

Location:

The Puerta Atarazana on Calle Colon behind the Alcazar del Colon and Plaza España.