La Capilla del Nuestra Señora del Rosario / The Chapel of Our Lady 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.
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. The 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 here when he visited 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. The settlement was moved across the river to the city that is now Santo Domingo founded by Governor Frey Nicolas de Ovando.
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.
Much research and Archaeological studies have been done at this location. It was found that the limestone floors of the chapel are dated from the 15th century. Many Spanish potteries and a container for holy oils were also discovered at the site. Also, many skeletons were unearthed that were dated from many different eras.
To visit this historical Chapel you must have written permission from the Tourism Department. The access road is the property of Los Molinos and they will not permit visitors without written permission.