Iglesia San Lazaro

Iglesia y Hospital de San Lazaro / Church and Hospital of San Lazaro

The church was built in 1573 to be a resource to mediate with and convert the indigenous Taino population. It fast became a hospital for persons of limited resources, in simpler terms, the poor and destitute. It served these who suffered a multitude of contagious diseases of whom most were lepers. There were 20 beds.

Iglesia San Lazaro

In 1650 the hospital was run by Jerónimo de Alcocer. In 1743 the hospital had 20 beds and was divided into sections for the men and women. The men got two rooms and the ladies got one room.

The hospital was not a pleasant place. As the city grew it was used less because of the proximity to the colony and the diseased humans that were treated within the walls were just too close for comfort to the non-diseased persons living close by.

Iglesia San Lazaro

In Ruins

The building was ruined in the earthquake of 1751 and during the rebuilding the people gave it the name the “Chapel of the Raggedy Beggars” until it was finally rebuilt in 1759.

During the restoration of the building in 1880’s many skeletons were found. Many of them showed evidence of leprosy while others showed no traces of the disease. Many had other diseases and some had no traces of any abnormality. They were just victims of the bad practices of this notorious hospital.

Iglesia San Lazaro on Calle Santome


From Calle el Conde turn north on Santomé. Go about 2 blocks between Santiago Rodrigues and Juan Isidro Perez near Calle Restauracion in Zona Colonial

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