Santo Domingo, Visit The Oldest City In The Caribbean

Santo Domingo

The biggest country after cuba and the variety of its landscapes and historic sites make The Dominican Republic as an ideal destination for holiday. The original nucleus of today’s capital Santo Domingo was founded in 1498 by Bartholomew Columbus (Christopher’s brother) on the eastern shore of the Río Ozama where they settled the first settlers – conquerors and immigrants simple – giving life to the village of Santo Domingo de Guzmán, who in 1502 by order of the Commander Fray Nicolás de Ovando was transferred on the opposite bank of the river. The city expanded rapidly and centralized power religious, political and military of the then island of Hispaniola (now divided between the two states of Haiti and the Dominican Republic) and in 1507 he obtained the official investiture of the king of Spain as the first city in the European Union New World,Santo Domingo in a few years it was transformed from a simple colonial village to a city powerful in economic terms both locally and internationally for Spanish imports from the American continent. The wealth in the capital was such that it soon became a favorite haunt of pirates (famous was that of Francis Drake) and English fleets, interested to get hold of loads that started towards the Iberian Peninsula.

Between the end of the eighteenth and beginning of the nineteenth century, the city was under French rule, but the Spaniards were not slow to seize it again, but in 1821 the city was occupied by military forces from Haiti and spent more than twenty years before in 1844, Santo Domingo obtains independence. The twentieth century was a rather difficult period of local history, marked from the U.S. occupation, by the passage of hurricane San Zenón and the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo, who changed the name to the city transforming it into Ciudad Trujillo until the time of his death.

A tour through the streets of Santo Domingo should definitely start from the colonial area, where there are well-preserved old buildings and alleyways. What was once called Plaza Mayor and was thought to be the key to the power of the city, now known as Parque Colón and is dominated by the statue of Columbus dating back to the nineteenth century, right next to the park is one of the most frequented by tourists or the Calle del Conde, a typical pedestrian street full of shops and restaurants.

Not far from the park, including the Cathedral of Santa Maria la Menor is located between the houses built since 1514, is considered the first cathedral in the Americas and has within it various architectural styles and ornaments ranging from Gothic to Renaissance Spanish, through the baroque in its implementation have contributed several major artists of the time including the Cellini Italian and Spanish painter Murillo. In the neighborhood of Parque Colón is also the Palacio de Borgellá, dating back to the nineteenth century and the former residence of the governor, currently based here are someoffices of the national government.

One of the most famous streets, ancient and enchanting islands of Santo Domingo Calle Las Damas, the true heart of the colonial city where you will find the most interesting and best preserved buildings of the city, the street name is due to the habit of the rich Spanish ladies of time to stroll in the late afternoon in the street flaunting their best clothes. On this street stands the Fortaleza Ozama – also known as Fortaleza Santo Domingo – where you can enjoy a stunning view of the river and seaport, nearby there is also the factory of the famous rum and Barceló Torre del Homenaje, eighteen meters high structure built in 1507 by Nicolás de Ovando, in which lived many governors, mayors and leaders of the colony. In one of the rooms in the tower died in 1557, the chronicler Gonz lez Fernández de Oviedo, while in the last century it was used as a prison.

Near the Calle Las Damas also remember other prestigious buildings such as the Casa de France and the Casa de las Bastidas, while down the street is an imposing building dating back to the sixteenth century, perhaps the most emblematic monument of the city, or the Alcazar de Colón: Diego lived in this palace, the son of Christopher Columbus, when he was governor of the island. The building, which is considered the king of Spain, a small fortress – built with indigenous and African slave labor – was the subject of controversy and envy by the king himself, was located here for over half a century, the Spanish Supreme Court and was for a long time one of the corridors of power in the colonies. Currently in it, after the restoration carried out in the sixties, there is a museum that houses a collection of antiques that belonged to another company at the time. A confirmation of the cultural value in the historical center, the whole colonial city was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1990.

The other big attraction town, although of questionable taste, which attracts many visitors is the Faro a Colón, a huge mausoleum dedicated to Colombo which has – at least officially – among the relics of the famous Genoese navigator also the authentic remains of the admiral, the building, constructed in 1986, was inaugurated in 1992 on the occasion of the five hundredth anniversary of the first voyage of Columbus to the Americas.

Beyond the rhetoric of the primate city in the colonial period that you breathe a little everywhere in the streets of Santo Domingo, the capital must say that actually has a perfectly preserved heritage and unique in its kind that does not end only in the main sites of interest tourism, but extends to every street and every place: for this reason a trip to the Dominican Republic is more than just a holiday on the tropical beaches. Santo Domingo is located on the southern coast of the island of Hispaniola and is connected to the world thanks to its two airports: from Las Américas International Airport, the largest in the country, through it each year nearly 3500000 passengers and is served by over twenty airlines traveling between the Caribbean and North America, South America and Europe. From / to the airport there are numerous links to the city center made by taxi, shuttle bus and private hotels.

Originally posted 2012-10-12 08:38:25.

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