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Plaza Monumento a la Caña

Plaza Monumento a la Caña / Sugar Cane Monument Park

The beautiful tree-filled Plaza Monumento a la Caña / Sugar Cane Monument Park is located in Villa Duarte just across the River Ozama from the Colonial Zone. Inside the park are 2 monuments, the Monumento a la Caña/ Sugar Cane Monument and the Monumento Marina de Guerra / Marine Monument.

The beautiful Monumento a la Caña under a spectacular morning sky.
The beautiful Monumento a la Caña under a spectacular morning sky.

The Plaza | Monumento a la Caña | Monumento Marina de Guerra | Location |

Plaza Monumento a la Caña and the Monumento Marina de Guerra both sit in this tree lined park.
Plaza Monumento a la Caña and the Monumento Marina de Guerra both sit in this tree lined park.

The Plaza

The Parque Monumento a la Caña is a favorite among the locals. You can watch some young people dancing or doing some acrobatic moves. There might be a game of Bittila (similar to baseball but played with a plastic water bottle top). There are usually some local dogs lounging around. And of course, the people enjoying the shade, having a picnic, taking a little snooze or visiting with friends and neighbors. The park is well-maintained by the Santo Domingo Este City Council (SDE).

The charming winding stone staircase leading from Av. Malecon to the Plaza.
The charming winding stone staircase leading from Av. Malecon to the Plaza.

The grande stone staircase is the perfect way to enter the park from the road that runs along Rio Ozama. It is on Av. Malecon across from the Marina Bartolomé Colón where many sail and fishing boats are parked. From the top of these long winding stairs, you can have a beautiful view of the river and the Colonial Zone.

Buenagente is enjoying the cool refreshing grass and shade areas of Parque Monumente de la Caña.
Buenagente is enjoying the cool refreshing grass and shade areas of Parque Monumente de la Caña.

On the other side of the Plaza, separated by a road, is the rest of the Plaza. The road divides this lonely part from the main park. It is a part of the park I call it the Annex. It has 3 levels, one is blocked by a fallen tree, that you can walk. It is not well maintained and is sometimes used as a sleeping spot for street people.

Plaza Monumente de la Caña Annex walkways with Inteliperra sniffing the fallen tree blocking one of the paths.
Plaza Monumente de la Caña Annex walkways with Inteliperra sniffing the fallen tree blocking one of the paths.

NOTE: Do not take valuables to this area if you want to walk around. It is not as secured by the police as the Colonial City. It is surrounded by some very poor neighborhoods that are interesting to visit. Also, NEVER GO HERE AFTER DARK. Just to be on the safe side.

Monumento a la Caña / Sugar Cane Monument

A panoramic view of the bronze sculpture Monumento a la Caña in the Plaza.
A panoramic view of the bronze sculpture Monumento a la Caña in the Plaza.

The Sugar Cane Monument consists of a magnificent bronze sculpture that was inaugurated in 1992 by President Dr. Joaquín Balaguer.

The monument dedicated to sugar cane workers under a brightening morning sky.
The monument dedicated to sugar cane workers under a brightening morning sky.

The bronze monument shows six oxen pulling a cart full of sugar cane with a child on top and his mother behind carrying a basket full of Cocoa. The father is the one who guides the animals using a whip. The sculpture depicts the hard work carried out by the colonists, the entire family helping, transporting the raw cane from the field to the mills.

Monumento Marina de Guerra / Marine Monument

Monumento Marina de Guerra is also located in the center of the Plaza Monumento a la Caña
Monumento Marina de Guerra is also located in the center of the Plaza Monumento a la Caña

Monumento Marina de Guerra is also located in the center of the Parque Monumento a la Caña. This monument of a ship’s wheel is dedicated to the remembrance of the Dominican sailors who fell during World War 2. The marble lined monument includes the names of those who fell and it reads:

“El Gobierno Dominicano, La Marina de Guerra, El Patronato Del Faro a Colon, y la Liga Naval Dominicana, rinden tributo de recordación a estos marinos dominicanos que en la segunda guerra mundial ofrendaron sus vidas en el cumplimento del deber. “Por Dios. Por La Patria y Por El Deber” Santo Domingo D.N. Mayo 1999”

The marble lined monument includes the names of those who fell and has a dedication.
The marble lined monument includes the names of those who fell and has a dedication.

NOTE: Do not take valuables to this area if you want to walk around. It is not as secured by police as the Colonial City. It is surrounded by some very poor neighborhoods that are very interesting to visit. Also, NEVER GO HERE AFTER DARK. Just to be on the safe side.

Location

View of the entire Plaza Monumento de la Caña betweeh Av. Malecon and Av. España.
View of the entire Plaza Monumento de la Caña betweeh Av. Malecon and Av. España.

The park is surrounded by Av. Malecon, Calle Maria Trinidad Sanchez and Av. España in Calero, Villa Duarte, Santo Domingo East. It is less than a 10-minute walk from the Puente Flotante/Floating Bridge that connects Santo Domingo to Santo Domingo Este.

Walking from the Colonial Zone cross the Puente Flotante (Floating Bridge). Turn right walking along Rio Ozama. On the left after the large apartment buildings is a staircase that is across from the Marina Bartolomé Colón. You can walk up the stairs and enter the park. If you do not want to go up the steep stairs continue walking to the next road on the left.

Buenagente enjoying the view of the Av. Malecon, Rio Ozama and the Colonial City from atop the stairs of the Plaza Monumento de la Caña.
Buenagente enjoying the view of the Av. Malecon, Rio Ozama and the Colonial City from atop the stairs of the Plaza Monumento de la Caña.

NOTE: I strongly suggest that if you do not want to climb the stairs that you wait to cross the road. The stone wall after the stairs on that section of the road is not secure. Rocks or the entire wall will fall from time to time.

Faro a Colón / Columbus Lighthouse

Faro a Colón/ Columbus Lighthouse

The Faro a Colón/ Columbus Lighthouse is a massive building shaped like a cross located in Eastern Santo Domingo. It is both a Museum and Mausoleum, it is said to house the remains of Christopher Columbus.

The Faro or Lighthouse was built to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the arrival of Admiral Cristobal Colón / Christopher Columbus to Santo Domingo in Las Americas in 1492. It sits on a large lot of land with reflecting pools on either side of the entrance (the only time there is water in the pools now is if it rains). There is a sidewalk where you can walk completely around the monstrous building and take in the views of the Caribbean Sea and the city of Santo Domingo in the distance. There are also pathways on the property where you can meander about.

The Faro a Colón standing majesticly as the sun brightens the sky.
The Faro a Colón standing majesticly as the sun brightens the sky.

The Design

This monuments design was chosen out of many applicants from the world over. The jury chose the design of Joseph Lea Gleave from England. His design was described as “an enormous cross-shaped structure designed to last for all times”. The jury described his design in this way, “THE DESIGN, MAKING WONDERFUL USE OF LIGHT, TAKES REFUGE IN A DIRECTNESS, SIMPLICITY AND FORCE WORTHY OF THE MONUMENTS OF THE AGES. THE DESIGN IS SYMBOLIC, BUT NOT TO THE EXTENT WHERE SYMBOLISM INTERFERES WITH THE SIMPLE BEAUTY OF THE WORK AS ARCHITECTURE. SEEN FROM THE AIR, OR FROM ITS SURROUNDINGS, THE SIMPLE MASS BECOMES A NOBLE ELEMENTAL FEATURE OF THE GROUND AND OF A CHARACTER WORTHY OF THE STEADFAST COURAGE AND FAITH OF THE GREAT DISCOVERER IT COMMEMORATES”.

The Faro a Colón entrance.
The Faro a Colón entrance.

Inguration

The Columbus Lighthouse was inaugurated Oct. 6, 1992 by President Joaquin Balaguer Ricardo. At the commemoration ceremony, the remains of Columbus were carried from the First Cathedral of the Americas through the streets, across the river and to their new resting place inside this enormous monument.

The Popemobile located outside of the Faro a Colón. Pope John Paul II rode in it when he visited Oct. 9-to-13, 1992 for the inaguration of the Lighthouse.
The Popemobile located outside of the Faro a Colón. Pope John Paul II rode in it when he visited Oct. 9-to-13, 1992 for the inaguration of the Lighthouse.

The ceremony was even attended by Pope John Paul II. The Popes Pope-Mobile can be seen parked outside of the entrance to the Faro.

Isabel la Católica statue at the Faro a Colón
Isabel la Católica statue at the Faro a Colón

The Entrance

A statue of Queen Isabel la Católica marks the entrance to the Faro as you approach on Ave. Mirador del Este. Queen Isabel la Católica, Queen of Castile, commissioned Cristobal Colón voyage to the New World.

Many different nations falgs line the walkway entrance to the Faro a Colón / Columbus Lighthouse
Many different nations falgs line the walkway entrance to the Faro a Colón / Columbus Lighthouse

There is a large paved walk and grand stairs that lead up to the entrance of the Faro. The walkway is lined by many different countries flags waving in the breeze.

Christopher Columbus, Coat of Arms / Cristóbal Colón, Escudo de Armas
Christopher Columbus, Coat of Arms / Cristóbal Colón, Escudo de Armas

On the entrance walkway you will notice the Christopher Columbus, Coat of Arms / Cristóbal Colón, Escudo de Armas. It is divided into 4 sections.
1) A castle of gold / Un castillo de oro
2) Lion crowned in gold with silver background / En campo de plata un leon rampante de gules coronado de oro
3) Islands of gold in a blue background / En campo de azur unas islas de oro
4) Five gold ancors in a blue background / En campo de azur cinco ancoras de oro, puestas en aspa.
Entado en punta de oro con una banda de azur y el jefe de
gules.

The bust of President Joaquin Balaguer Ricardo at the entrance to the Faro a Colón
The bust of President Joaquin Balaguer Ricardo at the entrance to the Faro a Colón

Climbing the stairs to the front gate there is a bust of President Joaquin Balaguer watching over all who enter.

Looking in the side entrance of the Faro a Colón
Looking in the side entrance of the Faro a Colón

The museum and chapel inside and it also is a repository for numerous documents and artifacts associated with the early Spanish Colonial times. There are rooms dedicated to the Latin America Countries displaying many different artifacts and items of interest from the represented country.

The Faro a Colón / Columbus Lighthouse reflected in the rain water filled reflecting pool.
The Faro a Colón / Columbus Lighthouse reflected in the rain water filled reflecting pool.

The Building and Light

The Faro a Colón is 693ft (211m) long East to West and 195 long feet North to South. This massive monument is 45 feet high. It was built in the shape of a cross at a 45-degree angle. It has 4 bronze lions and the feminine figurine that represents the Dominican Republic.

Columbus remains guarded by 2 lions inside the Columbus Lighthouse.
Columbus remains guarded by 2 lions inside the Columbus Lighthouse.

The building, in my opinion, is quite ugly from the outside. Its huge grey shape can be seen from a great distance even high in the air. The most impressive part of the structure is when they turn on the 157 beams of light illuminating the night sky with its brilliant cross. Now, the light is only turned on for special occasions because of the cost and problems with the electricity in the country. The light, it is said, can be seen in Puerto Rico on a clear night. It is very beautiful and quite impressive to see this cross-shaped beam of light shining in the night sky.

The entrance walk and stairs to the Faro a Colón
The entrance walk and stairs to the Faro a Colón

Columbus Remains

There is still much debate on whether the remains located in the Faro really belong to Christopher Columbus. Spain also claims to have his remains. Neither country wants DNA tests done on the bones in their possession so it will remain a mystery. To read more on this
Faro a Colon – Indiana.edu
and
Columbus Remains Found In Spain – CBSNews

The Faro a Colón with a beautifully lit sky.
The Faro a Colón with a beautifully lit sky.

Hours-Location

The lighthouse was remodeled in August 2008 and most recently in 2018. The streets have been repaved, the interior has been cleaned and bad floors replaced. New lighting has been installed.

Hours: Tuesday to Sunday 9am to 5pm (there is a small admission fee) Phone – 809-591-1492

Directions: Ave. Mirador del Este, Santo Domingo Este. It is about a 30 minute walk from Plaza España in the Colonial Zone.