La Capilla de San Andrés / The Chapel of San Andrés
La Capilla de San Andrés was the chapel and part of the second hospital to be built in the colonial city of Santo Domingo. It was the first charity hospital in the Dominican Republic.
The Chapel of San Andrés is built next to the Hospital Padre Billini, which originally was called Hospital de San Andrés, and the Iglesia Nuestra Señora del Carmen. All seem to blend together to almost form one structure. The use of brick as its major building material made this chapel a marvel of its time.
The wooden sculpture inside the chapel is very unique. Here, it is told, is the place where the people of Santo Domingo conspired and planned their revolt over the Haitian occupation in 1844.
The Capilla de San Andrés and the Capilla Padre Billini blended into the Hospital de la Beneficencia. This was the first charity hospital in the Dominican Republic, later known as Hospital San Andrés. We now know the hospital as Hospital Docente Padre Billini located on Calle Santomé in the Colonial Zone.
In 1586 the Chapel and the hospital were burned and looted by the privateer Francis Drake, after having been built 24 years earlier, in the year 1562.
Capilla de la Tercera Orden Dominica / Chapel of the Third Dominican Order
The Capilla de la Tercera Orden Dominica was constructed around 1514, originally part of the Iglesia y Convento de la Orden Dominica Entre la Capilla y la Iglesia, it is now home to Casa de la Juventud.
The Original Chapel
Constructed around 1514 this building was originally part of the Convento e Iglesia de los Padres Dominicos. It was the home of the Tercera Orden Dominica. The original building was first constructed of wood while the desired bricks and building materials were collected.
The First University In The New World
Eugenio María de Hostos founded the Escuela de Maestros Normalistas. The School of Normalist Teachers (for baccalaureate)was one of the great educational advances of the country. This university is part of the many “firsts” in Dominican Republic.
The chapel is topped with a bell tower and for decades was home to the municipal library.
Casa de la Juventud
The building is now home to the Casa de la Juventud / House of the Young Youth Ministry. The youth program is run by Father Luis Rosario and there are many youth and fun activities held here now.
The chapel is also a favorite spot for film makers to set up their home base.
There is a beautiful and peaceful garden behind the Chapel that is sometimes open where one can sit and relax.
Walking on Calle el Conde turn south on Hostos or Duarte. Go 2 blocks. In front of Parque Duarte on Calle Padre Billini is the Iglesia de los Padres Dominicos (left) and Chapel (right) with a small plaza separating them.
Convento y Iglesia de Santa Clara/ Convent and Church of Santa Clara
The nuns of Santa Clara arrived in the colony in 1552. The land where the Church and convent are built was donated by Alvaro de Castro, the public prosecutor of the Inquisition. Don Rodrigo Pimentel ordered that the convent was to be built in the 16th century, 1550 to 1559. Rodrigo de Bastidas, Diego Colón, Rodrigo de Pimentel y el Arzobispo Alonso de Fuenmayor all put in their ideas for the design.
The first convent of the new world
, was occupied in 1590. When the French occupied the city in 1796 the nuns left for Cuba and returned in 1820. The church, convent and mausoleum of Christopher Columbus/ Cristóbal Colon and his decedents were originally dedicated to Santa Ana. Later it was changed and named after Santa Clara and the nuns/ monjas Clarisas. In 1873, the monastery in ruins, was given to the Sisters of Charity of Cardinal Sancha/ las hermanas de la Caridad del Cardenal Sancha, who restored it and now occupy a college where they operate.
The monastery was created for girls in the city Ozama (Urbe del Ozama) to study and be educated. The founders were Franciscan who wore the brown sackcloth robe tied with a cord and a brown cape. These Franciscan monks are still seen walking through the Colonial city. The sisters now live behind the church on Calle las Damas. The iglesia houses a school where some days you can hear the children gathering in the church singing hymns with the sound coming out into the street like a soft wave.
The building is very plain consisting of a smooth, non-descript outer wall and a very simple entryway. The interior is decorated in Gothic style.
From east Calle el Conde turn south (towards the sea) on Isabel la Católica. Go about 2 blocks to Padre Billini and it is on that corner to Calle las Damas, Zona Colonial.
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