Tag Archives: unesco

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.

Calle Las Damas

Calle Las Damas/ Street of the Ladies is the oldest street in the Americas. It is a beautiful street lined with historical buildings from the original settlement of Santo Domingo.

Calle Las Damas - Raising the flag at the Panteón Nacional.
Calle Las Damas – Raising the flag at the Panteón Nacional.

Calle Las Damas

was originally named Calle de la Fortaleza/ The street of Strength or Fortress when it was created in 1502 during the reign of Nicolás de Ovando. The street has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Calle las Damas in the morning.
Calle las Damas in the morning.

The arrival of Admiral and Viceroy Diego Columbus and his wife doña María de Toledo brought a little class to this new city. María de Toledo was the great niece of the King of Spain, King Ferdinand. Many of the high society of Spain and the ladies “of culture” took up residence on Calle de la Fortaleza. The name was changed later to Calle las Damas, named for the Ladies-in-Waiting that strolled up and down its north to south running length.

Calle Las Damas - Nuns strolling down the street.
Calle Las Damas – Nuns strolling down the street.

A Street of Many Names

During its history the street had many names, most of the names came about because of a name of a building built along its path. In 1659 the name was changed to Calle Colón in honor of Cristóbal Colón. The other names for this street were Calle del Gobierno, Calle del Palacio, Calle de la Capitanía General and Calle del Convento de Los Jesuitas. Finally, the the street returned to its original historical name, Calle las Damas. The name remains to this day.

The sign on Calle Las Damas with many of the names this street has been called.
The sign on Calle Las Damas with many of the names this street has been called.

Visit Calle Las Damas

Strolling down Calle las Damas makes for a nice walk. Not much traffic passes on the stone path. You will be surrounded by beautifully restored buildings on both sides of the street. While walking you can almost feel like you are among the privileged people from times past that used to take their afternoon stroll along this historical street of the colony. It is a must visit here in the Colonial City.

Some of the monuments you can see and / or visit along this street include The Fortaleza Ozama, Panteón Nacional and make sure to stop and take a rest in the beautiful Plaza María De Toledo or Plaza Pellerano Castro, lovingly called Parque Rosado.

Calle Las Damas - Escaleras las Damas
Calle Las Damas – Escaleras las Damas

Location:

Calle las Damas runs North and South from Plaza España to the Malecon ending with the long and hidden Stairs of Las Damas/ Escaleras de las Damas (The stairs connect the Malecon to Calle las Damas at Plaza/ Park Pellerano Castro.

Casa Reales – The Building and The Museum

Casa Reales – The Building and the Museum

The fusion of three different colonial houses come together to form the Casa Reales. Originally built in 1508 it is now the home of a very informative museum explaining the rich history of this island and the country of Dominican Republic. It also houses a collection of weapons once owned by the Dictator Rafael Leónidas Trujillo Molina.

Las Casas Reales / The Royal Houses | The Museo / Museum | Location, Hours and Cost

Casa Reales seen from Rio Ozama
Casa Reales seen from Rio Ozama

History

The original house, built in 1508, was a property of the treasurer Cristóbal de Santa Clara. A few years later it was confiscated for debts and became the property of the of the crown.

Casa Reales front entrance
Casa Reales front entrance

The Casa de Contratación, an adjacent property, was built in the year 1504 and became the residence of the Governor or Captain General of the island.

In the 1520s

the space between these two buildings was filled and the 3 buildings became one, a palace dedicated to La Real Audiencia de Santo Domingo / The Royal Audience of Santo Domingo.

The original three buildings were occupied by el Gobernador / Governor, Presidente de la Real Audiencia / President of the Royal Audience and El Capitán General / Captain General. By the end of the 1500s the three buildings were put together because all the offices were held by the same person.

Casa Reales side window
Casa Reales side window

This building was home to the government palace until the Trujillo Era when the new Government Palace was built. Then President Joaquín Balaguer restored the building and converted the buildings into a Historical Museum.

Casa Reales window above the front entrance
Casa Reales window above the front entrance.

The arched gothic style windows on the second floor was where the Royal Court was held. It gave a perfect view of the Sun Dial in the plaza. This is how the court knew the correct time to write on the official documents.

Reloj del Sol in front of Casa Reales
Reloj del Sol in front of Casa Reales

The Museum

Museo Casa Reales Coach and typical dress
Museo Casa Reales Coach and typical dress

Casa Reales Museo was created by President Balaguer and opened to the public on October 18, 1973. The museum is dedicated to everything related to the periods of discovery, conquest and colonization of the island and its relationship with the rest of the American continent.

Casa Reales Museo model of Columbus ship
Casa Reales Museo model of Columbus ship

This powerful building has many beautiful architectural styles. The huge ground floor windows keep the buildings fresh by letting the cool breezes flow through its luxurious stone and coral walls.

Casa Reales Museo one of the courtrooms
Casa Reales Museo one of the courtrooms.

There is a replica of a colonial courtroom and many exhibits in the museum including the coat of arms of Spain.

Underneath the stone staircase is a large globe of the world with a horse on his hind lags ready to leap. Here is written in Latin: Non sufficit orbis (The world is not large enough).

Casa Reales Museo suit of armor at the entrance
Casa Reales Museo suit of armor at the entrance.

The museum also houses Trujillo’s weapons collection.

Casa Reales Museo weapons collection
Casa Reales Museo weapons collection.

The beautiful interior courtyards are perfect for taking a breath of fresh air. The statue of Fray Alonso de Zuazohold looms in thge center of one of the pation and also you just might spot a peacock or two strutting around the large beautiful interior patio.

Casa Reales Museo peacock
Casa Reales Museo peacock.

Location, Hours and Cost

: Calle las Damas and the beginning of Las Mercedes The Plaza del Reloj Sol is in front and it is connected to Plaza España. Phone: 809-682-4202.

Entrance to the museum (2016) RD$20 for adults and RD$20 for children.

Hours: 9:00-5:00 – Closed on Mondays