Category Archives: Statues/Sculptures

Statue of Cristóbal Colón

Statue of Cristóbal Colón

In the center of Parque Colón / Columbus Park in the historical Colonial Zone one can see the huge statue of Italian explorer and navigator “El Gran Almirante” Christopher Columbus / Cristóbal Colón who the park is named after. This bronze statue dates back from February 27, 1887. It is the work of French sculptor Ernest Gilbert.

The statue of “El Gran Almirante” Cristóbal Colón stands in the center of Parque Colón in front of the first cathedral of the Americas, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
The statue of “El Gran Almirante” Cristóbal Colón stands in the center of Parque Colón in front of the first cathedral of the Americas, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

The controversial sculpture shows the native Taino Princess known as Anacaona writing Columbus’ name in gold. She is reaching towards Columbus standing atop the pillar in his arrogant glory. Some say that the half-naked indigenous woman who lies at his feet symbolizes the meeting of the two cultures, while others see her as a symbol of the abuse and mistreatment the native inhabitants were subjected to by the conquerors.

Anacaona, the famous Taino princess on the base of the sculpture of Christopher Columbus
Anacaona, the famous Taino princess on the base of the sculpture of Christopher Columbus

The monument of Columbus sits on a marble pedestal designed by Engineers Thomaset, Soler y Carranza. There is also a palm branch on the side of the pedestal with 4 ships protruding from each of the 4 corners of the pedestal. I have done much research and cannot find any information about these parts of the statue.

Close up of one of the ships that adorn the pedestal of the Cristobal Colón monument
Close up of one of the ships that adorn the pedestal of the Cristobal Colón monument


 

The plaque at the base of the monument reads:

Ilustre y Esclarecido Don Cristoval Colon
“Monumento escultorico en honor al gran almirante Don Cristobal Colon descubridor del nuevo mundo primer virrey y gobernador de AMERICA realizado por el artista Ernesto Gilbert inaugurado el 27 de febrero de 1887”

Illustrious and enlightened Sir Christopher Columbus.
“Sculptural monument in honor of the great admiral Don Cristobal Colon discoverer of the New World first viceroy and governor AMERICA by artist Gilbert Ernesto opened on February 27, 1887.”

The monument to the Grand Admiral Cristopher Columbus with his finger pointing northwest in the direction from which he came.
The monument to the Grand Admiral Cristopher Columbus with his finger pointing northwest in the direction from which he came.


 

Interesting Facts

*Columbus has his left arm extended to the northwest pointing in the direction of where he came from.

*There are no pictures of Columbus in existence. The way he looks is an artistic creation.

*To mention Christopher Columbus’s name is very unlucky. Instead of using his name, Dominicans call him “El Almirante” / “The Admiral.” (more superstitions and bad omens)

*It is a local joke that the statue of Montecinos, with his hand raised to his mouth, is yelling “¡Ladrone! ¡Ladrone! / Thief! Thief! ” and Columbus is pointing “¡Por ahí! ¡Por ahí! / Over there! Over there!”.

*Columbus Day is not celebrated in the Dominican Republic. October 12th is called Dia de la Raza / Day of the Races. It is to celebrate all persons, white, black and aborigines and how they mixed into one race.

*Columbus remains originally were located inside the Catedral de Santa María la Menor but were said to be moved to the newly built Faro Colón / Columbus Lighthouse. But some say his remains are in Spain. The controversy continues.

The shadow of the monument dedicated to Cristóbal Colón under a waning moon.
The shadow of the monument dedicated to Cristóbal Colón under a waning moon.

Location

You can see this monument dedicated to the Grand Admiral Cristobal Colón in Parque Colón on Calle el Conde in the center of the old section of the Colonial Zone.


 

Plaza Monumento a la Caña

Plaza Monumento a la Caña / Sugar Cane Monument Park

The beautiful tree-filled Plaza Monumento a la Caña / Sugar Cane Monument Park is located in Villa Duarte just across the River Ozama from the Colonial Zone. Inside the park are 2 monuments, the Monumento a la Caña/ Sugar Cane Monument and the Monumento Marina de Guerra / Marine Monument.

The beautiful Monumento a la Caña under a spectacular morning sky.
The beautiful Monumento a la Caña under a spectacular morning sky.

The Plaza | Monumento a la Caña | Monumento Marina de Guerra | Location |

Plaza Monumento a la Caña and the Monumento Marina de Guerra both sit in this tree lined park.
Plaza Monumento a la Caña and the Monumento Marina de Guerra both sit in this tree lined park.

The Plaza

The Parque Monumento a la Caña is a favorite among the locals. You can watch some young people dancing or doing some acrobatic moves. There might be a game of Bittila (similar to baseball but played with a plastic water bottle top). There are usually some local dogs lounging around. And of course, the people enjoying the shade, having a picnic, taking a little snooze or visiting with friends and neighbors. The park is well-maintained by the Santo Domingo Este City Council (SDE).

The charming winding stone staircase leading from Av. Malecon to the Plaza.
The charming winding stone staircase leading from Av. Malecon to the Plaza.

The grande stone staircase is the perfect way to enter the park from the road that runs along Rio Ozama. It is on Av. Malecon across from the Marina Bartolomé Colón where many sail and fishing boats are parked. From the top of these long winding stairs, you can have a beautiful view of the river and the Colonial Zone.

Buenagente is enjoying the cool refreshing grass and shade areas of Parque Monumente de la Caña.
Buenagente is enjoying the cool refreshing grass and shade areas of Parque Monumente de la Caña.

On the other side of the Plaza, separated by a road, is the rest of the Plaza. The road divides this lonely part from the main park. It is a part of the park I call it the Annex. It has 3 levels, one is blocked by a fallen tree, that you can walk. It is not well maintained and is sometimes used as a sleeping spot for street people.

Plaza Monumente de la Caña Annex walkways with Inteliperra sniffing the fallen tree blocking one of the paths.
Plaza Monumente de la Caña Annex walkways with Inteliperra sniffing the fallen tree blocking one of the paths.

NOTE: Do not take valuables to this area if you want to walk around. It is not as secured by the police as the Colonial City. It is surrounded by some very poor neighborhoods that are interesting to visit. Also, NEVER GO HERE AFTER DARK. Just to be on the safe side.

Monumento a la Caña / Sugar Cane Monument

A panoramic view of the bronze sculpture Monumento a la Caña in the Plaza.
A panoramic view of the bronze sculpture Monumento a la Caña in the Plaza.

The Sugar Cane Monument consists of a magnificent bronze sculpture that was inaugurated in 1992 by President Dr. Joaquín Balaguer.

The monument dedicated to sugar cane workers under a brightening morning sky.
The monument dedicated to sugar cane workers under a brightening morning sky.

The bronze monument shows six oxen pulling a cart full of sugar cane with a child on top and his mother behind carrying a basket full of Cocoa. The father is the one who guides the animals using a whip. The sculpture depicts the hard work carried out by the colonists, the entire family helping, transporting the raw cane from the field to the mills.

Monumento Marina de Guerra / Marine Monument

Monumento Marina de Guerra is also located in the center of the Plaza Monumento a la Caña
Monumento Marina de Guerra is also located in the center of the Plaza Monumento a la Caña

Monumento Marina de Guerra is also located in the center of the Parque Monumento a la Caña. This monument of a ship’s wheel is dedicated to the remembrance of the Dominican sailors who fell during World War 2. The marble lined monument includes the names of those who fell and it reads:

“El Gobierno Dominicano, La Marina de Guerra, El Patronato Del Faro a Colon, y la Liga Naval Dominicana, rinden tributo de recordación a estos marinos dominicanos que en la segunda guerra mundial ofrendaron sus vidas en el cumplimento del deber. “Por Dios. Por La Patria y Por El Deber” Santo Domingo D.N. Mayo 1999”

The marble lined monument includes the names of those who fell and has a dedication.
The marble lined monument includes the names of those who fell and has a dedication.

NOTE: Do not take valuables to this area if you want to walk around. It is not as secured by police as the Colonial City. It is surrounded by some very poor neighborhoods that are very interesting to visit. Also, NEVER GO HERE AFTER DARK. Just to be on the safe side.

Location

View of the entire Plaza Monumento de la Caña betweeh Av. Malecon and Av. España.
View of the entire Plaza Monumento de la Caña betweeh Av. Malecon and Av. España.

The park is surrounded by Av. Malecon, Calle Maria Trinidad Sanchez and Av. España in Calero, Villa Duarte, Santo Domingo East. It is less than a 10-minute walk from the Puente Flotante/Floating Bridge that connects Santo Domingo to Santo Domingo Este.

Walking from the Colonial Zone cross the Puente Flotante (Floating Bridge). Turn right walking along Rio Ozama. On the left after the large apartment buildings is a staircase that is across from the Marina Bartolomé Colón. You can walk up the stairs and enter the park. If you do not want to go up the steep stairs continue walking to the next road on the left.

Buenagente enjoying the view of the Av. Malecon, Rio Ozama and the Colonial City from atop the stairs of the Plaza Monumento de la Caña.
Buenagente enjoying the view of the Av. Malecon, Rio Ozama and the Colonial City from atop the stairs of the Plaza Monumento de la Caña.

NOTE: I strongly suggest that if you do not want to climb the stairs that you wait to cross the road. The stone wall after the stairs on that section of the road is not secure. Rocks or the entire wall will fall from time to time.

Plaza María de Toledo And History

Plaza María de Toledo

The Plaza María de Toledo is a nice tranquil spot to sit and relax. The Plaza honors the first American Viceroy / Virreina, Doña María de Toledo. A cultural woman who helped make life for the new colony of Santo Domingo a little more proper.

The Plaza and Fountain in the Reflecting Pool with the statue of Maria de Toledo looking on.
The Plaza and Fountain in the Reflecting Pool with the statue of Maria de Toledo looking on.

The Plaza | Location | María de Toledo History

The Plaza and Fountain in the Reflecting Pool
The Plaza and Fountain in the Reflecting Pool

The Plaza

The brick tiled plaza sits between Calle Las Damas and Isabel la Católica. Benches line the courtyard, making it an ideal place for sitting and relaxing. The newly repaired fountain cascades water into a small reflecting pool. The sculpture of María de Toledo sits in the square in front of the fountain. Originally the statue was located on the side lawn of the Alcazar de Colón in Plaza Espana. They moved the statue to Plaza Maria de Toledo when the plaza was renovated in 2017.

The statue of María de Toledo now sits in the plaza named after the Virreina, Doña María de Toledo
The statue of María de Toledo now sits in the plaza named after the Virreina, Doña María de Toledo

There were 2 homes on the original piece of land. All that remains are the 3 stone arches at the entrance along Las Damas and the 2 arches above the pool. It was originally the residence of the group la Compañía de Jesús until they were expelled from the country.

The home next to the Convento de los Jesuitas (now the Panteón Nacional) that sat where the Plaza María de Toledo is now located. Picture from 1920’s
The home next to the Convento de los Jesuitas (now the Panteón Nacional) that sat where the Plaza María de Toledo is now located. Picture from 1920’s

Every Sunday there is a small Antique Market held in the plaza. Vendors sell their wares including antiques, Taino artifacts, brass pieces, jewelry and other interesting trinkets.

Sunday Antique Market in Plaza María de Toledo.
Sunday Antique Market in Plaza María de Toledo.

Location

Walking up (north) Isabel la Católica from the eastern side of the Conde about 1 block. It is the first open space on the right across from Calle Gregorio Luperon. Walking up Calle las Damas from the Conde, it is the first plaza on the left in front of Governor Nicolás Ovando’s Residence, now a hotel. It is next to the Panteón Nacional.

The red brick Plaza María de Toldeo is a nice place for sitting and relaxing
The red brick Plaza María de Toldeo is a nice place for sitting and relaxing

María de Toledo (born 1490 in Spain – Died May 11, 1549 (aged 58–59) in Santo Domingo

María de Toledo was the wife of the son of Christopher Columbus / Cristóbal Colón, Diego de Colón, II Admiral and II Viceroy of the Indies / II Almirante y II Virrey de Indias. She was the granddaughter of García Álvarez de Toledo, 1st Duke of Alba and the niece of King Ferdinand of Spain.

María was the first person of noble race to arrive on the Spanish island in 1509. She brought class to the colony. Clothes and other fancy items were forbidden in the colony until she arrived. She got special permission from the crown for herself and others to use and wear these items, becoming the central person of the aristocratic society. She also held the title of Viceroy / Virreina and was more powerful and influential than her husband Díego Colon.

María de Toledo was a strong defender of the original inhabitants of the island, the Taino Indians, against the mistreatment of the Spanish. She also fought for the rights of her children after the death of her husband. She was one of the most important female figures in the original colony of 16th century Hispaniola.

The unmarked statue of María de Toldeo used to be on the grassy slope on the side of the Alcázar de Colón. The Columbus Palace was built to be the home of Maria de Toledo and her husband Diego de Colón. She loved being a hostess, receiving guests and entertaining in her royal home.

The statue of María de Toledo sitting in its original location on the side of the Alcazar de Colón, her home in the original colony of Santo Domingo.
The statue of María de Toledo sitting in its original location on the side of the Alcazar de Colón, her home in the original colony of Santo Domingo.

NOTE – I have researched and found varying histories. Some report that María had 7 children and some say 8 children. I cannot find the cause of death or where she was buried when she died in Santo Domingo. If I find this information, I will add it.

More about the history of the Jesuits in Dominican Republic.

More about the history of María de Toledo