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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”

A story about The Restoration of the Iglesia and Fuerte Santa Bárbara on the Colonial Zone News Blog.

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 facades on many of these buildings are 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, fort and plaza have been completely restored and is open for visiting. The renovation work which has taken many years to complete is beautifully done. The bronze monuments and statues in the Plaza and the Fuerte Santa Barbara are beautiful. The interior of the church, now officially is a Cathedral, is amazing. The stained glass windows, the statues and adornments inside the church and the chapels are a must see. This place is a place that everyone needs to visit when you are in the Colonial Zone.

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 and in the center is the giant statue of Saint Francis of Assisi. The catwalk along the wall is easy to climb and the side of the walk towards the river is blocked off. There is a very nice view of the Colonial City of Santo Domingo 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


: 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

Harry’s Bar-Restaurant

Harry’s Bar and Restaurant

“The Place To Make New and Meet Old Friends”

“Enjoy the greatest variety of foods prepared with the freshest ingredients.”

Come by with friends, family or on you own. Enjoy the drinks. Have a remarkable dining experience. Sit back, relax and delight in the view. The prices are very reasonable for the superb locale. Here at Harry’s Bar and Restaurant you are always welcome.

Harry’s Bar – The perfect place to watch all the events happening in Plaza España

Harry’s is located in the most beautiful section of Colonial Zone known as Plaza España

. Sitting in this the first restaurant on the Atarazanas you can have an impeccable view of the plaza and the Alcázar de Colón also known as Columbus Palace. Luxuriate in the pleasant breezes. Savor the great food and cold drinks. Soak in the atmosphere of the old city in a secure setting.

Harry’s Bar and Restaurant, A great place for a party or celebration

We are proud to offer the finest selection of whiskeys from the world over.

You will be amazed by the many different varieties we carry, especially the Single Malts. If you are a fine whiskey connoisseur and lover this is the place you will want to be. Our 69 bottle whiskey collection is similar to the famous Harry’s American Bar in Paris, France.

Harry’s extensive whiskey selection

Be sure to try one of our signature drinks and cocktails created by Harry himself. Some of these interesting and tasty cocktails are named after different towns located in Dominican Republic. We can also prepare over thousand classical drinks that will be sure to please. A must try drink is the San Zenón. Be careful, Harry did not invent just an other sex on the beach! If Harry is around ask him about the history behind some of these drinks. He will gladly share the stories with you, just ask.

Harry’s Bar and Restaurant, A great place for a party or celebration

Harry’s plays music from the world over

focusing on Blues and Rock. We have an extensive collection of music styles and we want you, our guest, to let us know what you wish to hear. If there is something special you want to listen to bring it with you and we will be more than happy to play it.

When you visit our full service restaurant the friendly staff will pay close attention to make sure that your dining experience is beyond compare. The extensive menu has both National and International dishes. Selections include appetizers, sandwiches, seafood, steaks and more. If you do not see it just ask. All the food is cooked to perfection, just the way you like. You can finish off the meal with one of our sweet, luscious deserts.

Come and celebrate at Harry’s

We have a wide selection of Sirloin Steaks

prepared in a multitude of different styles, including a melt in the mouth Filet Mignon surrounded in bacon and smothered in a savory mushroom sauce.

Harry’s offers a large selection of fresh Seafood and Fish from which to choose. We have Shrimp, Calamari, Lambi (conch)and Langosta (lobster). All are served in various flavors and styles.

Harry’s famous Salmon with Coconut Sauce

Tobacco smoking is still permitted at Harry’s (there is a law in Dominican Republic that does not permit smoking in enclosed areas). On Harry’s Terrace you may smoke without disturbing anyone.

Harry’s Bar and Restaurant the friendly staff ready to serve

Live Music in the Plaza: Friday and Saturday from 8PM to 11 there is always entertainment in the Plaza. Come sit with us and enjoy these live performances.

Find us on Facebook at Harry’s bar and restaurant santo domingo

*WiFi available.

*Ample parking on site.

Hours: Sunday thru Thursday 11AM to 1AM. Friday and Saturday we are open until 3AM.
Contact: 809-685-7060


Calle La Atarazanas #29, the second restaurant on Plaza España, Ciudad Colonial, Santo Domingo, República Dominicana

Where is Harry’s