Tag Archives: santa barbara

Iglesia – Fuerte Santa Barbara

Iglesia y El Fuerte de Santa Bárbara / Church and Fort of Santa Barbara

Iglesia de Santa Bárbara / Church of Santa Barbara now known as Catedral Castrense Santa Bárbara de los Hombres de la Mar

The Iglesia and Fuerte of Santa Barbara is one of the oldest churches built within a fort in the colonial period. It is a UNESCO World Historical Site. The church and fort were originally built separately. The church was constructed in 1537 and the fort was built later because the location was very strategic for the protection of the city of Santo Domingo.

La Catedral Castrense Santa Bárbara / Iglesia Santa Barbara | El Fuerte de Santa Bárbara / Fort of Santa Barbara |

La Catedral Castrense Santa Bárbara

On Tuesday February 4, 2020 the newly rescued and restored Iglesia de Santa Barbara became known as Catedral Castrense Santa Bárbara de los Hombres de la Mar, or the Santa Barbara de la Mar Cathedral. The Roman Catholic Church in the Dominican Republic announced that the Church of Santa Bárbara will now officially be the second Cathedral in the Ciudad Colonial. The Santa Barbara Cathedral is now the seat of the newly-named Military Diocese, Diócesis Castrense.

The newly renovated church with the statues of Santa Barbara and St. Francis of Assisi. La Catedral Castrense Santa Bárbara
The newly renovated church with the statues of Santa Barbara and St. Francis of Assisi. La Catedral Castrense Santa Bárbara

The statues in the front of the newly ordained Cathedral are the martyr Santa Bárbara de Nicomedia Patron Saint of armorers, artillerymen, architects. The second is St. Francis of Assisi the Patron saint of Animals, Merchants & Ecology.

The church is a single long building with five distinct sections, as can be seen from the outside of the building. The original church building was made of royal palm. Later, in 1537, it was rebuilt in stone. The blocks were quarried from this very site as were the stone blocks for many monuments and buildings of the era.

The interior of the church has eight distinct chapels each are from very distinct and are from different eras.

Church and Fort Santa Bárbara
Church and Fort Santa Bárbara

The building has been damaged many times throughout its history. Both the Fuerte and Iglesia were heavily damaged by a hurricane in 1591. Then earthquakes in 1673 and 1684 did extensive damage to the Iglesia. The Pirate Francis Drake did severe damage to the church when he invaded the island in 1586. Each time the church was repaired something new was added to the structure. It is interesting to note that the ceiling of this historical monument is still covered with the original bricks.

Juan Pablo Duarte was baptised in the Iglesia Santa Bárbara
Juan Pablo Duarte was baptised in the Iglesia Santa Bárbara

The Iglesia Santa Barbara boasts to be the place where Juan Pablo Duarte, The Father of the Nation, was baptized on February 14, 1813.

Interesting stories surrounding the Iglesia and Fort

There are many crypts under the church that recently have been discovered. There are also bones in the walls and a newly discovered cemetery in the Plaza surrounding the church.

“Las Vírgenes de Galindo” / “The Virgins of Galindo” – Three young sisters and their father were massacred in 1822 by Haitian invading forces. – Cesar Nicolás Penson said in his works “Cosas Añejas”

El Fuerte de Santa Bárbara / Fort of Santa Barbara

Fuerte de Santa Bárbara shooting platform
Fuerte de Santa Bárbara shooting platform

The Fort of Santa Barbara is the only fort with a church inside. The church was built first and later when the fort was built both structures were incorporated together. This is a very unique thing to have a fort and church entwined. The bunker for the fort is attached to the church.

The city of Santo Domingo was a walled city but the north section of the city did not have walls built until 1686. Building the fort in this furthest section of the city was an important step in the fortification of the city.

Fuerte de Santa Bárbara shooting platform cannons
Fuerte de Santa Bárbara shooting platform cannons

This fort was part of the third stage of protection for the city. Construction began in the early 1540’s and the final phase was completed in the early 1700’s. It was designed by an Italian builder and a Spanish stone cutter. The fort and church, as with most of the Spanish settlement, was built by slave labor by African and the Indigenous island dwellers.

The end of the 17th century brought constant attacks to all the Antilles Islands. This fort was a bunker facing the mouth of the river Ozama thus giving it an excellent view of the entry port. It was a very strategic location for the strength of the city of Santo Domingo.

Santa Barbara Today

Santa Barbara street art
Santa Barbara street art

The barrio of Santa Barbara where the fort and church are located is a good place to visit. It is a typical Dominican barrio that has a small town feel. There are some great art works and graffiti covering the walls of many of the buildings. Many of these buildings are in need of repair and are abandoned but the art work on many of these buildings is incredible.

Iglesia y Fuerte de Santa Bárbara side wall held up with bars
Iglesia y Fuerte de Santa Bárbara side wall held up with bars

The church is in disrepair but they are working 24 hours daily to restore the beauty of the church and fort. There are metal bars holding up the outside wall. It has been under renovation for many years and still the work is not completed.

Here is a picture that was taken February 17, 2019 of the renovation work being done. It is looking great.

Remodeling the Iglesia and  Fuerte Santa Barbara is coming along.
Remodeling the Iglesia and Fuerte Santa Barbara is coming along.

If you visit Santa Barbara make sure to climb up the ramp to the top of the shooting wall of the Fuerte Santa Barbara. The wall is lined with cannons. The catwalk along the wall is usually grown up with weeds and the side towards the river is blocked off. There is a very nice view of the and the Rio Ozama from the top of the fort wall.

The view from high atop Fuerte de Santa Bárbara shooting platform
The view from high atop Fuerte de Santa Bárbara shooting platform

Location

: From Calle el Conde go south up Calle Isabel la Católica or Calle Arzobispo Meriño (both of these streets lead to this monument). Walk about 6 blocks almost to Av. Mella at the far end of the walled city, Colonial Zone.

Contact -809-682-3307

Casa de Bastidas

Casa de Bastidas & The Trampolín Children’s Museum

This beautiful colonial house, constructed in 1505, was originally the residence of Captain Rodrigo de Bastidas. Captain Rodrigo was the Almojarife Mayor, Principal Royal Tax Collector, and governor of Santo Domingo. It is now home to the Children’s Museum Trampolín.

1.Casa de Bastidas/ House of Bastidas | 2.Trampolín Children’s Museum | 3.Location

Casa de Bastidas/ House of Bastidas

Casa de Bastidas seen from Calle las Damas
Casa de Bastidas seen from Calle las Damas

Rodrigo de Bastidas, the owner of the home was Honorary Mayor in 1512. This home was constructed specifically for him. After his death in 1527 his family and their descendants continued to occupy the home. The home is not constructed in the normal style of the time. It more resembled a warehouse, not an estate where people were to live. It was built this way to perform two functions. First to be used as a residence. Second, it was used as a storehouse and safe to keep the Crown revenues and treasures until they could be sent to Spain.

Casa de Bastidas as seen from inside the Fortaleza Ozama.
Casa de Bastidas as seen from inside the Fortaleza Ozama.

There is a plaque on the wall and a stone statue of Santa Bárbara above the door dating from the 18th century.

Casa de Bastidas with Santa Barbara above the door
Casa de Bastidas with Santa Barbara above the door

Entering the arched front doors is a vestibule that opens to a spectacular interior patio. The tree-lined patio is adorned with Roman arches and it an oasis. Many concerts and celebrations are held in this huge patio.

Trampolín, Museo Infantil / Trampoline, Children’s Museum

– Descubrir es Divertido / Discovery is Fun.

Trampoline is a children’s museum that is located inside the Casa de Bastidas. They hold many events in the interior patio.

Entrance to the Trampolín Children's Museum
Entrance to the Trampolín Children’s Museum

The museums desire in to spark the children’s interest in history and knowledge while making learning fun and interesting. It is an interactive place for children to learn about their Universe, Planet Earth, Energy, People and Society, Ecology and Ecosystems and their surroundings.

There are rooms for children’s workshops, a cinema theater, an outdoor theater, a cafeteria and library services. http://www.trampolin.org.do

Hours:

Tuesday to Friday 9AM to 5PM, Saturday and Sunday 10AM to 6PM. Entrance: RD$50 Children / RD$100 Adults (6/2015)

Phone:809-685-5551

More information about the Casa de Bastidas and the Children¿s Museum.

Location

Walk east down Calle el Conde where it ends at Calle las Damas. Turn right. Casa de Bastidas is on the left about 2 buildings down. Calle Las Damas, Zona Colonial, Santo Domingo

Casa de Bastidas, Calle las Damas, next to Fortaleza Ozama.
Casa de Bastidas, Calle las Damas, next to Fortaleza Ozama.