Tag Archives: ruins

Ruinas Hospital San Nicolás de Bari

Ruinas Del Hospital San Nicolás de Bari/ Ruins of the Hospital San Nicolas de Bari

The Hospital San Nicolás de Bari, located in the Colonial City of Santo Domingo, was built between 1503 and 1508 by order of the Governor Nicolas de Ovando. It was the first hospital and church built from stone in the New World and is a UNESCO World Heritage protected site.

The entrance to the Ruinas Del Hospital San Nicolás de Bari and the Iglesia Altagracia next to the ruins.
The entrance to the Ruinas Del Hospital San Nicolás de Bari and the Iglesia Altagracia next to the ruins.

The Templo y Hospital of San Nicolas de Bari was originally built in November 1503. It was located in the original settlement on the other side of Rio Ozama. When the settlement moved the hospital was rebuilt at its present location. It is said that the hospital was built atop the home of a black woman who nursed the sick.

Governor Nicolas de Ovando ordered the hospital to be rebuilt promptly because there was such a great need. Sickness and disease were prevalent due to the heat, insects and lack of medicines and treatment knowledge. The hospital and doctors center along with the adjoining church, Iglesia Altagracia, was funded entirely by contributions from the more affluent people of the colony.

The front of the Ruinas Del Hospital San Nicolás de Bari.
The front of the Ruinas Del Hospital San Nicolás de Bari.

Changes Throughout The Years

The original hospital was a palm hut. The ladies of the colony who had the desire would come and take care of the sick as a charity offering. This palm building was only able to hold about six patients.

All that remains of the Hospital San Nicolas De Bari.
All that remains of the Hospital San Nicolas De Bari.

A stone building replaced the original palm structure in 1519. Construction of this state of the art hospital made of stone and brick was complete in 1527. Only a small chapel remains of the second building.

Some of the original pillars are saved inside the ruins of the hospital.
Some of the original pillars are saved inside the ruins of the hospital.

The third hospital was built from 1533 to 1556. It was much larger and could hold about fifty patients. This building took a beating from the Pirate Francis Drake in 1586. The profiteer burned and destroyed the medical center and stole its contents including documents and many treasures of the church.

San Nicolás de Bari also served as a military hospital but continued to disintegrate due to hurricanes and earthquakes. Even though the building was in ill repair it continued to be used.

The archway of the hospital San Nicolas de Bari still remains
The archway of the hospital still remains

Finally, after the Restoration in 1863, the hospital was abandoned and left to decay. The walls were further destroyed when the chapel, the Nuestra Señora de la Altagracia, adjoining the decaying hospital was rebuilt in the 1930’s. At this time some walls were knocked down because they were in danger of falling.

Parrots and Pigeons nesting in the walls of the Ruins of San Nicolas De Bari
Parrots and Pigeons nesting in the walls of the Ruins of San Nicolas De Bari

San Nicolas de Bari Today

Now, when you enter what is left of the walls of the hospital you can still see a cross-shaped outline on the faded blue floor tile. The holes in the interior walls are nesting homes for the local pigeon and parrot population (they get very loud during mating season). On the exterior wall high up is a very large active beehive.

The beehive on the exterior wall of the Ruins of San Nicolas De Bari
The beehive on the exterior wall of the Ruins of San Nicolas De Bari

Location:

From Calle el Conde turn away from the sea onto Calle Hostos. The Ruins and Iglesia Altagracia are located between Calle Mercedes and Calle Luperón.

Ruins of the San Francisco Monastery

Ruinas del Monasterio de San Francisco / Ruins of the San Francisco Monastery and the Capilla de la Tercera Orden Franciscana / Chapel of the Franciscan Third Order

Sitting atop a hill, looming, surrounded by an iron fence sits almost 2 blocks of buildings in ruins and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Ruinas del Monasterio de San Francisco / Ruins of the San Francisco Monastery are a very humbling sight to behold. Looking both majestic and eerie. It’s menacing, eerie feeling is multiplied when you walk close and see the holes in the land surrounding the building. Some say that these were to hold prisoners. While others say they are places where excavations were done.

Ruinas del  Monasterio de San Francisco in The Colonial Zone in the early morning
Ruinas del Monasterio de San Francisco in the early morning

First Monastery |La Casa del Diablo |Capilla de la Tercera Orden Franciscana |Location |

Ruinas del  Monasterio de San Francisco deep well holes in the property
Ruinas del Monasterio de San Francisco deep well holes in the property

There is also a deep well on site covered by a grate.

In the past the inhabitants were lunatics and friars, now the sole inhabitants of the building are the pigeons and ghosts. The cooing of the birds, or maybe it be the moaning from the people of the past, add to the eerie feel of the place.

In the evening the ruins seem to heighten in magnitude and mysteriousness. The lights shining on these abandoned and falling stone walls give it an immense forlorn and desolate feeling. Make sure when you visit you sit on the steps and take in the feeling of the place. If only these lonely bricks could tell their story.

Ruinas del  Monasterio de San Francisco in the 1930's
Ruinas del Monasterio de San Francisco in the 1930’s

The First Monastery

The most important ruins of the Americas held the first monastery in the Americas. The building was started by Nicolás de Ovando in 1509 and was completed in 1560. Built on a hill overlooking the city it was, and is, a true marvel. It was divided into three parts, the Convento/ Convent, the Chapel (Capilla de la Tercera Orden de los Franciscano, the Capilla de Garay also known as the Chapel of Maria de Toledo, Diego Colons’ wife), and San Francisco el Viejo.

Cordón de la Orden Franciscana and bust of Padre Billini
Cordón de la Orden Franciscana and bust of Padre Billini

Over the largest part of the doorway of the monastery is the Cordón de la Orden Franciscana, the coat of arms of the order, carved into the stone surrounding the arched doorway. There is a cross and a bust of Padre Billini. It was built on the outside in Renaissance style and the inside in Gothic.

Looking inside the Ruinas del  Monasterio de San Francisco you can see some of the older chapels
Looking inside the Ruinas del Monasterio de San Francisco you can see some of the older chapels

La Casa del Diablo

At one time this place was used as a military fort and named La Casa del Diablo/ The house of the Devil It has also been called El basurero del Monasterio/ The Garbage Can of the Monastery. In 1881, Francisco Billini changed the building into a lunatic asylum. If you look on the inside there are still remnants of chains bolted to the walls where they tied the crazies.

The Plaza inside the Ruinas del  Monasterio de San Francisco
The Plaza inside the Ruinas del Monasterio de San Francisco

It was taken by the Pirate Francis Drake (for more information on Drake) during his very destructive raids on the city in 1586. Nature also attacked the monastery with two devastating earthquakes in 1673 and 1751.

It is also said to be where Bartholomew Columbus is buried, but this is not certain.

At times there are special events held here. There may be a concert or school group doing something. It is a favorite spot for taking wedding pictures. On Sundays the area is packed full of people all gathering with friends and family to see a free concert and do some dancing.

Ruinas del  Monasterio de San Francisco front gate
Ruinas del Monasterio de San Francisco front gate

Capilla de la Tercera Orden Franciscana / Chapel of the Franciscan Third Order

Capilla de la Tercera Orden Franciscana inside the Ruinas del  Monasterio de San Francisco
Capilla de la Tercera Orden Franciscana inside the Ruinas del Monasterio de San Francisco

The beautiful facade of this chapel is located in the Ruins of the Monasterio de San Francisco. It was part of the many phases of building within the walls of the monastery. It was built to join with the Capilla de Garay and the Capilla María de Toledo. All that remains today is the front of the chapel and the interior arches with a small remnant of the beautiful vaulted roof that was destroyed in a hurricane is 1930.

A rainbow over the Ruinas del Monasterio de San Francisco
A rainbow over the Ruinas del Monasterio de San Francisco

Location

From Calle el Conde turn north on Calle Hostos. Go up the hill about 5 blocks. You can also go on Calle Restauracion, Duarte and Juan Isidro Perez (it takes up almost 2 city blocks)