20
micePLACES.com The Magazine
NOV/DEC 2012
SPOT
LIGHT
SANTO DOMINGO
Zona Colonial
The historic enclave of Santo Domingo, known as the Colonial City, covers
only 3 sqkm/1sqm, but inside the walls are dozens of historical buildings
and sites, including palaces, forts, museums, and churches; parks, plazas,
statues and monuments. The main street, Calle Das Lamas, is the oldest
street in the New World, and the entire area has been declared a UNESCO
World Heritage site. Wandering twelve-block radius, you’ll see a wide variety
of architectural styles and commercial activity. Highlight: The Panteon
Nacional was originally designed in 1747 as a Jesuit convent and has also
been used as a theater and a tobacco warehouse. It was converted to
become the National Mausoleum in 1955 to house the remains of revered
political and military figures whose actions have shaped the history and
scope of the Dominican Republic.
Web:
Bellas Artes
Encompassing more than 3,995 sqm/43,000 sqft,
the beautiful neoclassical Palace of Fine Arts
houses the School of Visual Arts, the Folkloric
Ballet, the National Chorus, the School of Dance,
the Classical Ballet, the School of Dramatic Arts,
the Fine Arts Theater and is the permanent home
of the Dominican Republic’s National Symphony
Orchestra. With so many different arts groups
centered here, you can experience extraordinary
shows and art exhibitions at virtually any time of year. Ask about renting space for special
events, meetings or receptions.
Phone:
809 682 1325
Web:
A Formidable Fortress
The Fortaleza Ozama, a sixteenth-century castle built by the Spanish at the entrance to Santo
Domingo, is the oldest formal military construction of European origin still standing in the
Americas. Construction began in 1502 and it was completed in 1505. Over the course of its
history, the fort has flown the flag of Spain, England, France, Haiti, Gran Columbia, the U.S.
and the Dominican Republic. It served as a military
garrison and prison until the 1970s, when it was
opened to the public. The walls encompassing
the fort are three meters thick, except the one that
borders the river. This wall is only one meter thick.
This was done so that if there was an explosion
it would explode outward to the river restricting
possible damage. Guided and unguided tours are
available from 9am to 5pm daily.
Phone:
809 333 8672
Web:
The Royal Houses
Museo de las Casas Reales was constructed in the early 16th century and is considered an important
cultural monument in the old city. It was built to house the administrative offices of the Spanish
colonies in the Americas. Today Museo de las Casas Reales is a historical monument that showcases
its beautiful colonial architecture. On the first floor you’ll find the Exhibition Hall, Statue of A. Suazo
and the galleries featuring discovery, conquest and evangelization artwork and smuggling and piracy
photographs and displays. The second floor contains the Great Hall of Governors and Arms Halls.
Phone:
809 682 4202
Web:
The Oldest
Residence
The Alcázar de Colón is the oldest
residence in the Americas. This was the
house of the Columbus family in Santo
Domingo, built by Christoper Coulmbus’
son, Diego in 1515. It houses the Museo
Alcázar de Diego Colón, whose collection
exhibits the Caribbean’s most important
ensemble of European late medieval and
Renaissance works of art. The Alcazar
is the most visited museum in Santo
Domingo and a must-see destination for
history-lovers.