Tag Archives: architectural

Casa de los Dávila / Capilla de los Remedios

Casa de los Dávila and the Capilla de los Remedios

Casa de los Dávila / House of Dávila and the connected Capilla de los Remedios / The Chapel of Remedies was one of the most modern and complete houses of its time. It was built Siglo XVI / The 16th century.

Casa de los Dávila | Capilla de los Remedios

Casa de los Dávila on Calle las Damas
Casa de los Dávila on Calle las Damas

Casa de los Dávila

was the residence of don Francisco Dávila, the richest families on the island at this time. It was one of the most modern and complete houses of its time. The house has a bunker built into the wall and was connected to Fuerte El Invincible. The house was later integrated into the Casa de Ovando/ House of Ovando where the Hotel Nicolás de Ovando is now.

Plaque on Casa de los Dávila
Plaque on Casa de los Dávila

Capilla de los Remedios

The Casa de los Dávila is one of the few homes in the city to have its own private chapel. The Capilla de los Remedios was built to house the remains of his family. This is where the body of Francisco Dávila is interred.

Capilla de los Remedios
Capilla de los Remedios

The chapels architectural style is Mudejar, created by the Muslims. The interior structure holds a small temple in the shape of a cross with a vaulted brick ceiling. The outside of the chapel has a bell tower made of brick that has a spectacular view of the port. At the time it was built the tower also displayed the families’ coat of arms/ escudo de armas which was destroyed by Boyers who led the invading Haitian troupes in 1830.

Capilla de los Dávilas as seen from Plaza Reloj de Sol
Capilla de los Dávilas as seen from Plaza Reloj de Sol

This small but important chapel was damaged many times throughout history and has always been rebuilt. In 1853 the chapel was damaged by a lightning strike then in 1930 by a hurricane.

The chapel fell into ruins by 1872 and stayed this way until three friends, known as The Three Johns/ Los tres Juanes, decided that this building could be saved. They were Don Juan Alejandro Acosta, DonJuan F. Travieso, both heroes of Independence, and Don Juan Pumarol. These three men got permission from the vicar of the Archdiocese to do the restoration. Finally, March 1884, the work on the little chapel completed and it was blessed.

The view of the Chapel from below.
The view of the Chapel from below.

The chapel has been repaired as needed and updated with air conditioning and other niceties. When you find the doors open be sure to visit, take a seat on one of the wooden benches, and relax for a few minutes. It is used for concerts and exhibitions.

Casa de los Dávilas on Calle las Damas
Casa de los Dávilas on Calle las Damas The Guardia del Presidente are exercising in the Plaza

Directions

: The Casa de los Dávila is located on Calle Las Damas # 57. The Capilla de los Remedios is on one side of the house and the Hostal Nicolas de Ovando on the other.

Walk east on Calle el Conde to Calle Las Damas. Turn left (north) walk about 2 blocks and it is the last building on the right before the Plaza del Sol Reloj / Plaza of the Sun Dial and Plaza España. If you come from Calle Las Mercedes and walk towards the River you will run directly into the chapel.

Casa de los Dávila and Capilla de los Remedios as seen from Calle las Mercedes
Casa de los Dávila and Capilla de los Remedios as seen from Calle las Mercedes

Columbus Palace

Palacio Virreinal Alcázar de Colón / Columbus Royal Palace

The Palacio Virreinal Alcázar de Colón (Colón is the Spanish word for Columbus), short name is Alcazar de Colon. In English it is known as The Columbus Palace. This beautiful historical monument and UNESCO World Heritage site is a 22 room stone home built by Christopher Columbus son, Don Diego Colón and his wife María de Toledo.

1. Alcázar de Colón 2. Museo Alcázar de Colón 3. Maria de Toledo Statue 4. Directions

Alcázar de Colón

The Palacio Virreinal Alcazar de Colon and the Puerta San Diego as seen from the Malecon entering the Colonial City.
The Palacio Virreinal Alcazar de Colon and the Puerta San Diego as seen from the Malecon entering the Colonial City.

Diego and Maria Toledo resided in this 50 room Viceregal palace, during Diego’s term as viceroy. It has beautiful gardens, large balconies and amazing courtyards. This fortress was built during the early 1500s to be the seat of the viceroy court.

Diego and his wife, Maria de Toledo, lived here until 1523 when he was recalled to Spain. Other relatives lived here for decades afterward.

This building was abandoned in 1770 and turned into a garbage dump. Cave-ins in 1809 and 1835 left the building in ruins.

The Palacio Virreinal Alcazar de Colon in ruins 1910
The Palacio Virreinal Alcazar de Colon in ruins 1910

The building was restored by highly skilled stone cutters under orders of President Trujillo. There were some added refinements made during several later restorations. The size is much smaller than the original building. All rebuilding was done to remain as faithful as possible to the original construction and decor. Not one single nail was used in its construction. It opened to the public on Columbus Day in 1957.

The Alcazar Colón in the Colonial Zone seen from the cat walk over top of the Puerta Don Diego.
The Alcazar Colón seen from the cat walk over top of the Puerta Don Diego.

The palace sits in a large open square, Plaza de Armas or Plaza de España. There are always some interesting activities happening in this beautiful plaza and if there are no activities it is still a nice place to sit in one of the benches located around the edge of the plaza.

The Alcazar looks beautiful at night with the lights shining on the stone-coral building. The Palacio Virreinal is a must-see by those who want to learn about Santo Domingo’s historical beginnings.

The front porch of the Palace
The front porch of the Palace

Museum of the Royal Houses / Museo Alcazar de Colón

Inside the Museum of Alcazar Colón
Inside the Museum of Alcazar Colón

Located inside the Alcazar is a museum that is home to an extensive collection of furniture and household items from the colonial period all arranged to look as if it is being lived in to this day.

Inside the museum
Inside the museum

On display in the mansion is furniture, many clothing items and home utensils from the era, all supplied by the Spanish government. The furnishings are not the original household furnishings. Since the building was in ruins for many centuries it was ransacked and all the furnishings taken or destroyed.

Suit of Armor in the museum Alcazar de Colón
Suit of Armor in the museum

The museum is open to the public Tuesday to Saturday 9AM – 5PM and Sundays from 9AM to 4PM
General admission is RD$50 (6/2012)

Maria de Toledo Statue

The statue of Maria de Toledo on the side of the Alcazar
The statue of Maria de Toledo on the side of the Alcazar

It is also important to note that in the side yard is a statue of Maria de Toledo, the niece of the King of Spain and wife of Diego Colón, the son of Christopher Colón.

Maria was the first person of noble lineage to come to the Spanish island in 1509. She was the great-niece of the Catholic Monarchs and granddaughter of the Duke of Alba).

Maria de Toledo statue close
Maria de Toledo statue close

María de Toledo was a gracious host and loved having parties and visitors to her home. The statue of her seems to be inviting guests to her home.

*Note- Mid-2017 the statue was moved to the Plaza Maria de Toledo between Isabel la Católica and Calle las Damas.

Alcazar de Colon in the morning.
Alcazar de Colon in the morning.

Directions

Calle Las Damas at Plaza España. Walking west on Calle el Conde go almost to the end at Calle Las Damas. Turn left and continue walking about 1 1/2 blocks straight ahead. The street will turn into a pedestrian only plaza. Keep walking and you will see the giant palace in the distance. You cannot miss it.