Chapel of the Rosary

La Capilla del Rosario/ The Chapel of the Rosary

Located on a cliff on the Eastern bank of the Ozama river in Villa Duarte, easily seen from the Plaza de España, the Capilla del Rosario is one of the first chapels of the New World.

Capilla del Rosario close-up.

Original Settlement of Santo Domingo

This small chapel was constructed on the original land where Bartholomew Columbus founded the Villa of Santo Domingo in 1498. This location was where the first colony was established. This chapel, built in 1544, was constructed of wood and beams gathered from the ships and straw. It was dedicated to La Virgen de la Gente de Mar/ The Virgin of Seafarers (Sailors). In 1544 Father Fray Bartolome de Las Casas heard Mass there when stopped in Santo Domingo, during his trip to Chiapas, where he had been appointed bishop.

The original settlement on this side of the river was abandoned when the water quality was found to be better on the other side of the Rio Ozama. They moved across the river to the city that is now Santo Domingo that Governor Frey Nicolas de Ovando founded.

La Capilla del Rosario as seen from Plaza Reloj de Sol

This building was used as a military compound during the Haitian occupation. It was also used for smuggling during the 17th and 18th centuries.

Some of the original Taino Indians that adapted to the Spanish way of life lived in this area.

La Capilla del Rosario across Rio Ozama.

Much research and Archaeological studies have been done at this location and it was found that the limestone floors are dated from the 15th century. Found were Spanish potteries and a container for holy oils. Also, there were many skeletons found dated from many different eras.


You must have permission from the Tourism Department5 to visit the Chapel. The access road is the property of Los Molinos and they will not permit visitors without written permission for now.

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