Originally named Calle de la Fortaleza/ The street of Strength or Fortress when it was made in 1502 during the reign of Nicolás de Ovando. It is the oldest street in the Americas and is World Heritage Site.
The arrival of Admiral and Viceroy Diego Columbus and his wife doña María de Toledo, the great niece of the King of Spain King Ferdinand. brought a little class to this new city. Many of the high society of Spain and the ladies "of culture" took up residence on Calle de la Fortaleza. The name was change later to Calle las Damas, named for the Ladies-in-Waiting that strolled up and down its north to south running length.
This large bricked park or plaza, with its large trees and sometimes working fountains, is where most people seem to start their tour of Colonial Zone. It is a large open area with benches nestled under the large shade trees. This park is a hangout for tourists and locals alike. You will see people snapping pictures, feeding the large flocks of pigeons, children playing with their parents looking on, lovers holding hands, people just sitting relaxing (maybe even taking a snooze) while enjoying the gentle breezes and the shade getting relief from the hot Dominican sun.
Since it is a high traveled tourist area there will be many vendors trying to sell you a CD of typical Dominican music, maybe a rosary or some other trinket. There are always tour guides looking for guidees at a price. Taxi drivers will ask if you need a taxi as you pass by their stands. Maybe a shoeshine boy (limpia bota) will ask if
Parks/ Parques, Plazaz and Plazoletas (Small Plazas)
This large, open air plaza in front of the Alcazar de Colon nice place to be. The pedestrian only street known as Atarazanas (on my map, as with many, the road is also called Colon) was the first commercial street in the Americas. This street is now closed to traffic making the walk very safe. In the past this plaza was the place where the soldiers paraded in front of the Palace where Diego Colon lived. Before the Spanish arrived and turned this area into a thriving city this was just conucos/ cultivated fields of the native Tainos Indians.
At one side of this plaza are many restaurants and outdoor cafes that are very popular. These buildings were originally homes and warehouses. There is always some activity happening here. There are outdoor art shows, concerts, and many other activities. It is a beautiful place to sit and people watch after the sun goes down as
This nice quite park is named after the poet Arturo Bautista Pellerano Castro born in Curazao March 13, 1865 and died in Santo Domingo May 5, 1916. There is a plaque and statue commemorating the poet in the park. There are many benches located under beautiful shade trees with hanging creepers giving this park a unique feeling. The other edges of the park has banana, avocado and mango trees.
The neighbors call this park Parque Rosdao (Pink Park) because it is painted a soft pink color.
Location: walking from the eastern end of the Conde turn right (north) on Calle Isabel la Católica or Calle Las Damas and walk to the end of the street. see the map (number 80)
you need a shine or give you a little flower and then ask you to pay for it. You could be followed by a local street dog, they can also spot a tourist from a distance.
In the center of Colon Park one can see the huge statue of Christopher Columbus/ Cristobal Colon who the park is named after. This bronze statue dates back from 1897 and is the work of French sculptor Gilbert. It shows a native Taino woman known as Anacaona reaching to Columbus standing atop the pillar in his arrogant glory.
The park is located directly in front of the Catedral Santa Maria (the oldest cathedral in all Las Americas). On the other side of the park is Calle El Conde where one can walk the entire length of the Colonial Zone and end up at the Independence Park or Calle Las Damas. This section of the Conde has a few restaurants where you can sit, enjoy a meal or a drink and people watch. There is also a few tobacco stores where you can watch cigars being rolled.
This is the oldest Commercial street in the city of Santo Domingo de Guzmán. It runs directly through the center of Colonial Zone. It is named after the Count of Peñalva. This pedestrian only street has been known by the names the Calle de la Separacion, Clavijo and Real in days past.
From this street one can find their way around the Zone quite easily. This is a very busy thoroughfare and was closed to traffic many years ago. It is a 10 block cobblestone walk way filled with shops, restaurants, and all types of people (some street dogs also). People selling their wares of many forms from the street and in the many shops. There are also restaurants, businesses, homes and even some vacant buildings lining this busy street turned into open air shopping mall. It is one of the most popular shopping areas for Dominicans and tourists alike. Its fun to sit on one of the benches along Conde Street and watch the people passing by. You may even see a street performer or some impromptu activity from some passer by that you will remember forever.
Location: The street runs from the Puerta del Conde at its farthest west point continuing on to Calle las Damas at its eastern end. Check the map of Colonial Zone for the exact location (opens in a new window).
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Calle el Conde at Meriño at dusk (top)
Calle el Conde at Hostos 1940's (bottom)
This Plaza was made to honor the first American Virreina (wife of a Viceroy), Doña María de Toledo. A cultural woman who helped make life for this new colony a little more proper. Built within two stone arches it was the residence of the group la Compañía de Jesús.
This plaza is usually very quiet. There are a few places where one can sit and enjoy the quiet. On Sundays there is usually a small market with people selling their wares, antiques and jewelry.
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. see the map (number 45)
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Plaza Maria de Toledo
This is another street and is one of the most beautiful and unique in the Colonial Zone. This cobble stone street runs from North to South with the most beautiful part going up a steep hill. There are stairs on either side where you can see some of the original old wooden houses, protected by UNESCO, lining the incline. The street was originally named Calle del Hospital, named so because it is the location of the Hospital San Nicolás de Bari, now known as the Ruinas de Bari. It was also called Calle Militar. This street changed names again in 1904 to take the name of the Dominican national hero and educator Eugenio María de Hostos (1839-1903).
Calle Hostos has been the location for many different movie shoots the most famous being The Godfather III.
Location: Walking from the eastern end of the Conde the street runs left and right but the right turn (north) on Calle Hostos will take you up the hill. This street makes for a beautiful picture to take home as it is such a unique street. see the map
there are no shade trees in the plaza. It is exceptionally beautiful at night when the lights are shining on the palace. Make sure to take a picture of this plaza at night.
Take a walk around the outside edge of the wall on the Bateria del Almirante, the cat walk type path during the daylight hours. Walking around this far edge of the wall you can overlook the river Ozama far below.
Location: Walking up (north) Isabel la Catolica from the Conde it is about 3 blocks. Make a right. Walking up Calle las Damas from the Conde just keep going straight and you will run into the plaza. see the map (number 35)
Plaza María de Toledo
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Plaza Pellerano Castro
Calle las Damas/ Street of the Ladies
Calle las Damas sign
Plaza de la Poesía/ Plaza of the Poetry is to honor the Dominican poet Salomé Ureña de Henríquez (1850 - 1897). It was inaugurated during the III Festival de Poesía de Santo Domingo on October 2011 to mark the importance of poetry and reading in the country. They made this small intimate plaza where one could sit and thing or read wherein years gone by there was so much commotion in this area as it was the entrance to the shipyards and warehouse of the Atarazanas.
Location: Atarazanas with Calle Colon behind the Alcazar del Colon.
Plaza at Ermita de San Anton and Fort San Francisco
I am not sure of the exact name of this plaza but it runs from the Ruins of the San Francisco Monistary, past the Chapel - Ermita de San Anton up to the old fort that is gone of San Francisco.
It is a nice walk, very peaceful. With all the steps going up the hill and the nice old wooden houses that are in abundance in this little neighborhood, it is a great place for taking pictures of the Ruinas. there always seems to be some of the neighborhood children playing. Sometimes the people living there sell their wares and you can purchase some fruits or home cooked foods.
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Plaza San Anton
Location: Walking from the Conde go up the hill (north) on Meriño or Hostos. Walk approximately 5 blocks past the Ruins of San Francisco. It is behind the ruins on Resturacion and Vicente C. Duarte. see the map (number 19)
During its history the street had many names, most of the names came about because of a name of a building built along its path. In 1659 the name was changed to Calle Colón in honor of Cristóbal Colón. The other names for this street were Calle del Gobierno, Calle del Palacio, Calle de la Capitanía General and Calle del Convento de Los Jesuitas. Finally, the the street returned to its original historical name, Calle las Damas. The name remains to this day.
This street is a nice walk with not many cars passing along its stone path. Surrounded by the beautifully restored buildings on both sides it is a must see street. One may feel like they are among the privileged people from times past that used to take their afternoon stroll along this historic street of the colony. It is a must visit here in the Colonial City.
Location: The far eastern end of the Conde near to the Ozama river. Running North and South from Plaza España to the Malecon ending with the long and hidden Stairs of Las Damas/ Escaleras de las Damas (The stairs connect the Malecon to Calle las Damas at Plaza/ Park Pellerano Castro.see the map (number 55)) see the map (number 81)