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Colegio de Gorjón

Colegio de Gorjón, home of Centro Cultural de España

Colegio de Gorjón/ College or School of Gorjón was a vision of rich landowner and sugar tycoon Hernando de Gorjón. The building was later restored and now is the home of Centro Cultural de España/ Cultural Center of Spain.

The College of Gorjón home of Central Cultural de España.

Hernando de Gorjón

Hernando de Gorjón came to the island in 1502 on the same expedition that brought Fray Governor Nicholas de Ovando and the Licenciado/ Lawyer Bartolomé de las Casas. Since he did not have any heirs Gorjón decided to build a college for the study of sciences. Sadly, he never got to see his dream completed. The building was finished in 1550, after his death.

University of Santiago De La Paz

In 1583 it was named part of the University of Santiago De La Paz. The university was finally confirmed by Cédula Real in 1741 when Fernando VI gave it recognition as the Universidad de Santo Domingo.

An art display on the front of the Centro Cultural de España.

Centro Cultural de España/ Cultural Center of Spain

The Colegio de Gorjón was restored beautifully in the 1970’s by the Comisión de Monumentos de Santo Domingo/ Monument Commission. At this time it was decided to make the building return to its original use and become a center for learning and culture. In 1990 the location was the Centro Cultural Hispánico. Since 1998 to present day The Colegio de Gorjón is the home of the Centro Cultural de España/ Cultural Center of Spain (CCEDS http://www.ccesd.org). It is an institution integrated into the worldwide network of cultural centers of the Spanish Agency of Cooperation the International, AECI.

Architect

Many architectural interests of great historic value can be seen throughout the Colegio de Gorjón starting with the main entrance and windows.

The outside of the building can be very deceiving as it looks so plain and simple. Once you enter the front doors the interior is quite large.

Entering the building there is a stone vestibule that represents the Elizabethan period in the New World. It is decorated with several restored shields of arms that were destroyed during the Haitian invasion.

Patio of the Centro Cultural de España.

The main room was originally a chapel. Today it is the exhibition hall named in honor of painter and sculptor Antonio Prats Ventós. The Spanish patio is now the place where many outdoor concerts and exhibitions are held. The patio is surrounded by splendid columns and holds about 200 people.

Many of the old classrooms from the original school are now exhibition halls including Sala Maria Ugarte and the Sala Fotográfica. On the second floor is a library, smaller rooms and offices.

Location:

Calle Arz. Meriño between Calle Jose Gabriel Garcia and Arz. Portes.

Casa del Cordón

Casa del Cordón / House of Cords

Casa de Cordón is named such for the “Cord of San Francisco” carved in stone surrounding the doorway. It was built by Francisco de Garay who, when he originally arrived in the New World, was a servant of Christopher Columbus (Cristóbal Colón). Columbus taught Garay to be a Notary Public and Garay gained his wealth from investing in the mining of the country.

Casa de Cordón front entrance
Casa de Cordón front entrance

First House In The New World

This beautiful structure was the first stone house in the New World. It was also the oldest structure in The New World with 2 floors. It was built in the Elizabethan and Gothic styles of the time.

Calle Isabel la Catolica La Casa del Cordón 1911
Calle Isabel la Catolica La Casa del Cordón 1911

Many of the noted persons of the time resided in this home including Diego Columbus, the son of Christopher Columbus, and his wife. They stayed here while the palace, their residence, was being built.

Casa del Cordón
Casa del Cordón

It was a place of grand social gatherings and meetings of the important and “beautiful people” of the time. All were waited on hand and foot by the black slaves.

Casa de Cordón close-up of the front door
Casa de Cordón close-up of the front door

In 1586 Sir Francis Drake made his terrible and devastating invasion of Santo Domingo. He and his Pirates took over the city and held the people hostage. Drake told the citizens of Santo Domingo that they could buy back their city. The inhabitants of Santo Domingo paid a heavy price of silver, gold and all they had of any value to these English Pirates to get back their beloved city. This building is where all the transactions took place.

Casa de Cordón close-up of the front door
Casa de Cordón close-up of the front door

For a time it was the location of the Real Audiencia.

The Casa del Cordón is now the home of Banco Popular (Popular Bank). The bank took care of the restoration of this beautiful building. When you enter you will be amazed at the beauty inside. The floor and vaulted ceiling are amazing. The central courtyard is immaculate and beautifully kept.

Location:

Calle Isabel la Católica and Emiliano Tejera.