The Palacio Consistorial, located in the Colonial City / Ciudad Colonial of Santo Domingo, was the original location of the old town hall. It is the oldest Town Hall in The Americas. Not only has this historical building witnessed unrivaled events in the history of The Dominican Republic, but it is also the place where many of the most important decisions of the country have been made.
The Palacio Consistorial was built between 1502 and 1504. It has been remodeled many times during its lifetime in which much of the original facade has been hidden and covered over.
The Palace was remodeled between 1911 and 1913 by the architect Osvaldo Báez Machado (Machado also remodeled the Iglesia de la Altagracia and The Hospital Padre Billini). He changed the edificio to have a neoclassical style that was very popular at that time.
The porch on the ground level runs along the entire building and the second floor boasts a large curved corner balcony and small balconies with iron railing.
Museo de la Villa de Santo Domingo
The interior of the Consistorial, also known as the Museo de la Villa de Santo Domingo, has a large central patio. It is exquisite with the beautiful fountain and surrounding terraces. An elegant staircase rises to the second floor. Along with the busts of the Padres de la Patria (Juan Pablo Duarte, Francisco del Rosario Sanchez and Ramon Matias Mella), there is a beautiful antique grand piano and crystal chandeliers.
In 1939 the exiled Spanish Architect Tomas Auñón made the interior woodwork and trim. In 1944, Vela Zanneti, the great Spanish muralist, made the mural that tells the history of the city. Starting with the loves of Miguel y Catalina up to the Era of Trujillo. The art emphasizes the San Zenón Hurricane that in 1930 marked the beginning of the 31 years of Trujillo’s dictatorship.
The most notable aspect of this historic building, the 95 foot high (29 meter) clock tower / torre del reloj. The tower was added during the time of Trujillo. The top of the tower has a crowned dome known as El Vivaque. The tower has a clock on its front that in old times was an important time peace in the city. Now, it is just for show.
For years the building was part of the Banco de Trabajadores. For a time it was a jail and a police station. Now the building houses Ayuntamiento del Distrito Nacional. It is also a beautiful and elegant space for art exhibitions and cultural activities.
This tower of the Consistorial Palace is an iconic part of the Colonial Zone. If you lose your way in the Colonial Area just look to the sky for this tower with the clock (usually the clock is not working). This unique tower can be seen from most of the surrounding Colonial Zone area. If you become lost or can’t remember how to get back to the Conde just locate the tower and head towards it.
– The building and its tower look like it is leaning towards the street. This, I am told, is an optical illusion.
The Consistorial Palace and the Museo de la Villa de Santo Domingo is on the corner of Calle El Conde and Arzobispo Meriño, at Parque Colon. Just look up and you will see the distinctive tower.
Reference – Diario Libre