Iglesia Nuestra Señora del Carmen / The Church of Our Lady of Carmen
The Brotherhood of Remedies and of Carmen, a small group of parishioners, wanted to have a small chapel for their meetings. They built their small chapel in 1615 on a plot of land owned by the San Andres Hospital.
In 1729 the chapel was enlarged. The main entrance door dates back to this period. It was christened the Plazoleta de la Trinitaria and was used as a meeting ground for the Dominicans who led the revolt against the Haitians who occupied the city in 1844.
Inside this chapel there is a wooden sculpture of the Nazareno (Nazarene) who is a type of Christ.
Did you know?
July 16 is the celebration of the patron saint Nuestra Señora del Carmen. She is the Patron Saint of the Fuerza Aérea de República Dominicana (FARD) / Dominican Republic Air Force.
: From Calle el Conde turn south on Sanchez. Go 1 block to Calle Arzobispo Nouel. It is on the left beside the Capilla de San Andrés and Hospital Billini.
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.
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.
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.
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
Iglesia y Convento de las Mercedes / The Church and Convent of Our Lady of Mercy
This church is the works of Rodrigo de Liendo. Construction began in 1549 and finished in 1555. It was known as one of the most distinguished temples in the Indies. This is one of the most loved temples by the Dominican people. They come here to pray to the Virgen de las Mercedes.
Originally built as a gothic type temple,
with a baroque altar and lateral ornamentations of silver. It also included several smaller chapels.
The church underwent several changes and remodeling. In 1635 two gothic arcs were added to enhance the dome ceiling. A bell tower was also added to the structure. In 1910 the back part of the church was changed into a convent.
The building could not stand up to the earthquakes so the walls were strengthened which, in turn, made the building lose much of its original gothic splendor.
The statue of Saint Padre Pio de Pietrelcina stands in the Plaza at the Iglesia Nuestra Señora de Las Mercedes. Padre Pio was born in Pietrelcina, southern Italy on May 25, 1887 – died September 23, 1968 at the age of eighty-one. Pope John Paul II canonized Padre Pio on June 16, 2002.
Why do the Dominican people celebrate Las Mercedes? About Our Lady of Mercy / Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes. Patrona de la República Dominicana.
*Did you know that one of the bells located at the church are from the ship U.S.S. Memphis? T ship’s bell was given to the people of Santo Domingo for their help in rescuing the ship’s crew. About the wreck of The Memphis.
: From Calle el Conde turn north onto Calle Jose Reyes. Walk 2 blocks and turn left onto Calle Mercedes.
All You Want To Know About The Oldest City In The Americas