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santo domingo

SANTO DOMINGO DE GUZMAN

Nobody can visit the Dominican Republic without knowing its Magical, Historical, Romantic and first city founded in America.. Santo Domingo city, capital of Dominican Republic, the country’s largest city and chief seaport, coextensive with the National District. Located at the point where the Ozama River.

Flows into the Caribbean Sea, the city has a fine artificial harbor accessible to most commercial and passenger ships. It is connected by both ship and airlines with principal points in North and South America and is at the hub of a network of modern roads. Santo Domingo is a tourist, economic, and administrative center. It is the site of factories manufacturing processed foods, alcoholic beverages, metal products, chemicals, cement, and textiles and serves as a distribution outlet for the sugarcane, beef and cattle, and other products of the surrounding region.

Points of interest include the Cathedral of Santa Mariá la Menor (built 1514–20), believed to contain the remains of Christopher Columbus; the palace (built 1510; a museum since 1957) of Diego Columbus (in Spanish Diego Colón; c. 1480–1526), son of Christopher Columbus and a viceroy of the island (1511–26); 16th-century churches, such as San Nicolás and San Francisco; and the fortified walls of the original Spanish town.

Educational institutions include the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo (1538), said to be the oldest university in the Americas, and Pedro Henríquez Ureña National University (1966). Cultural institutions include the National Gallery of Art (1943); the Museum of Dominican Man (formerly the National Museum, 1973), known for its pre-Columbian collection; the Museum of Modern Art (1976); the National Library (1971); and various public, private, and university libraries. Founded in 1496 by Bartholomew Columbus (1445?–1514?), brother of Christopher Columbus, the city is the oldest European settlement extant in the New World. In 1930 it was heavily damaged by a hurricane but was subsequently rebuilt.

In 1936 it was renamed Ciudad Trujillo for the Dominican President Rafael Leonidas Trujillo Molina. It became Santo Domingo again in 1961 after the assassination of Trujillo and the subsequent fall of his regime. In 1965 the city was the scene of an uprising against the country’s ruling government. Pop. (1993, greater city) 2,193,046.

No other city in the Caribbean has a greater variety of restaurants and night life. There are so many restaurants in this city that it is practically impossible even for those who live here to have visited them all. And it’s a city that never sleeps. A great place to meet people. A lot of young single executives who come here to work end up leaving (if they leave) married to a Dominican.

Santo Domingo has great shopping. Major chains from all around the world have opened branches here and more will be opening soon. Discount stores offer great prices on designer brands, the leading shops offer clearance sales several times a year and there are many designer shops for more exclusive wear.

Santo Domingo is the most bustling and diverse city in the Caribbean. It has a population of over three million inhabitants within the city and the Province of Santo Domingo and sprawls out over 250 square kilometers.

COLONIAL CITY
COLONIAL CITY

The Colonial City is the perfect starting point for visitors to discover Santo Domingo. Here, between Independence Park and the Ozama River, you will find the first city built in the New World by European settlers, including Columbus’s brother, Bartholomew, and his son, Diego Columbus.

The first street in the Americas is Calle de Las Damas, the site of numerous historic buildings including the Ozama Fortress, the oldest fortress in the Americas. There is also the house of Nicolás de Ovando, governor of Santo Domingo in the early 1500’s and a ruthless warrior against the Taino Indians.

Of great historical interest is the Museo de las Casas Reales (Museum of the Royal Houses), the restored 16th century palace of the Spanish Court, which features a wonderful glimpse of the past. Nearby is the Alcázar de Colón (Castle of Columbus) built by Diego Columbus and his wife Maria de Toledo, niece of the Spanish King Ferdinand.

A few streets over in the center of the walled city, visitors will find the Cathedral Basilica Santa Maria la Menor, pronounced the first cathedral in the New World by Pope Paul III in 1542. While touring the colonial city, visitors can learn all about amber, the stone made even more famous by Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park film. The Amber Museum on Calle Arz. Meriño features exceptional educational exhibits of this semi-precious jewel.

PLAZA DE LA CULTURA
PLAZA DE LA CULTURA

From the old to the new, Santo Domingo takes visitors on a trip through time with its dozens of national museums celebrating all aspects of Dominican life, past and present. Many of these museums are located in the Plaza de la Cultura, a large park area where visitors can stroll easily from one museum to another. They include The Museum of Dominican Man, the Museum of Modern Art, the National Museum of History and Geography, and the National Museum of Natural History. Visitors to the Museum of Dominican Man will enjoy the fascinating look into the history of the Dominican people including original Taino artifacts, the Spanish conquerors and the African slaves. The Museum of Modern Art has an impressive collection although small by developed world standards.

COLUMBUS LIGHTHOUSE
COLUMBUS LIGHTHOUSE

Another site not to be missed is the Faro a Colón (Columbus Lighthouse) an impressive structure in the shape of a cross which was constructed to mark the 500th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ arrival in the Americas in 1492. It houses his remains in an impressive tomb and features numerous exhibits. After exploring it by day, it is exciting to view the Lighthouse at night from the Colonial City, when the powerful lights are reflected into the sky in the shape of a cross. The lighthouse is located in the Mirador del Este Park.

BOTANICAL GARDEN & PARKS
BOTANICAL GARDEN & PARKS

With about 2 million square meters, the Santo Domingo Botanical Gardens is the largest in the Caribbean. The park is viewable by small train. Within are exhibits of the natural flora of the island and areas dedicated to palm trees, orchids and exotic plants. Also on the grounds is what was once the largest floral clock in the world.

Those who have visited Japan will agree that the Japanese Garden here is one of the most lovely in the world.

The well-kept Santo Domingo Botanical Gardens is well worth the visit if you love nature. Other city parks worth a visit are the Mirador del Sur Park and the Mirador del Norte Park (for bicycling, skating, jogging and kite-flying).

GOLF
GOLF

Those visiting Santo Domingo can book reservations at the 18-hole Las Lagunas Country Club at Km. 20 Duarte Highway, Tel. 809 372-7441. Or at Isabel Villas Country Club at Avenida Belice, Urb. Isabel Villas, Cuesta Hermosa III, Arroyo Hondo that allows night play at its 9 holes par 3 course. Tel. 809 549-3306.

Accommodations

Colonial Tour and Travel offer you in Santo Domingo our special Catalogue of hotels of all categories . The hotels for business are primarily located along the sea-bordering Malecon, along the Maximo Gomez Avenue, the Naco area and near the Mirador del Sur Park. Several small hotels offer attractive rates for those on a budget or wanting to stay longer.

Choose your city accommodation depending on where your center of activity will be. If you are coming for leisure, there are many boutique hotels in the Colonial City. If you will be here for business, book your hotel accordingly to avoid delays in traffic.

RESTAURANTS
RESTAURANTS

Santo Domingo’s dining scene rivals any cosmopolitan city around the world. A truly international mix, visitors can find every type of cuisine as well as savory Dominican dishes at superb restaurants. Restaurants are clustered in the Colonial City, Gazcue, the Malecon and uptown on 27 de Febrero Avenue, between Winston Churchill and Ortega y Gasset streets.

NIGHTLIFE
NIGHTLIFE

People-watching at the cafes and bars, many of them open air. Dancing merengue, salsa, bachata and even rock until the early morning in discos and night clubs. Casino gambling until dawn in hotel casinos. Santo Domingo has its fair share of casinos, international theatre, music and dance performances, the finest of them performing at the National Theater. A city for young people, every evening hundreds of young executives congregate for drinks at the many bars and cafes in the city, many located at the Avenida Abraham Lincoln, Gustavo Mejia Ricart and Roberto Pastoriza or on the Malecon. The nightlife starts late, with people arriving at the discos after 11 pm and the merengue, salsa and rock beats don’t stop until around 4 am at upscale dance clubs in town.

Newcomers to the city should visit the Guacara Taina, a famous multi-level dance club set in a massive underground cave in the Mirador del Sur Park. Or live orchestra music nights at Jet Set Disco at Av. Independencia in front of Presidente beer brewery.