Parque Duarte is a beautiful plaza or park named after Juan Pablo Duarte, a Founding Father of the Dominican Republic. They erected a beautiful bronze statue in the center in honor of this Dominican hero.
Parque Duarte is a neighborhood park that is a nice place to sit and wile away an afternoon. Maybe you could even join in a game of dominos. There are benches where you can sit in the shade under a tree, relax and watch the world pass by. It is calm and peaceful during the day.
When darkness comes this place is overrun by young people partying, drinking and listening to music. There is a Colmado and a few small bars surrounding this park where you can get a cold beer, a mixed drink or whatever type of liquid refreshment you desire. Different food vendors pass through where you can get ice cream, a plate of chicharrones (pork cracklings) and other local type snacks. I call this park “the alternative lifestyle park” as it has a variety of visitors in the evenings. Artists and musicians, bohemian, gay and straight, young and old. A very interesting place to observe and enjoy partying with a variety of humans.
Plaza and Sculpture
Plaza Duarte was named on November 20, 1891 by the Ayuntamiento of Santo Domingo.
They inaugurated the park and the statue of Duarte in the center of Parque Duarte on July 16, 1930 when Rafael Estrella Ureña was president of the Dominican Republic. Italian sculptor and painter Arturo Tomagnini created the hollow cast polished bronze statue between 1928 – 29 in Italy.
The sculptor depicts Juan Pablo Duarte standing with his right hand on his chest at his heart. In his left hand he holds the draft of the constitution. He stands proudly atop the granite and concrete pedestal. Sitting below him is the Diosa de la Victoria / Goddess of Victory. (Diosa de la Victoria (Nike), in Greek Mythology, is the goddess of victory both in war and in peaceful competition.)
Duarte Park – History & Legends
Here are a few legends and historical items that I have found to be very interesting.
*This square in it’s long history has also been known as Plaza Anacaona, Plaza Santo Domingo and Plaza del Exconvento Dominico / Plaza of the Ex-Convict Dominico, Plaza del Convento de los Dominicos.
*Haitian separatists fought for independence at this site in 1843.
*It was the site of bullfights during the celebrations of the Virgen del Rosario.
*Edificio Elmúdesi, built by Benigno Trueba in 1936, is one of the historical buildings that surround Parque Duarte. The building was the home and clinic of Doctor Antonio Elmúdesi. The Elmúdesi building is part of the architectural heritage of the Dominican Republic.
*In the 19th century, this was the place chosen by the Trinitaria to meet and begin a conspiracy against the Haitian occupation that took place between 1822 and 1844.
*Legend says that the queen of Jaragua, Taino Anacaona, was hanged here but it has never been proven.
*Sir Francis Drake and his followers hung to death the Dominican Fathers Juan de Caravia and Juan de Illanes in 1586.
Calle Padre Billini, on the corners of Duarte y Hostos, in the center of the Colonial Zone. The park faces the Iglesia y Convento de Los Dominicos and the Capilla de la Tercera Orden Dominica, where the first university of the New World was founded in 1538.
Walking – From the Conde turn south onto Padre Billini or Duarte. Walk in the direction of the sea. It is about 2 blocks from Calle el Conde.