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The Heart of Santo Domingo

Aug 17, 2007
The capital of the Dominican Republic is Santo Domingo. It was the first Spanish settlement in the Americas. Christopher Columbus initiated the first European New World settlement here in 1496. His legacy is preserved in the bricks and mortar of the historic old section of Santo Domingo, which has been turned into an entertaining and interesting Colonial theme.

The South Coast contains some of the countries bigger cities and national parks.

If any city in the world could be declared the perfect holiday destination, then Santo Domingo would probably be a prime candidate, with its modern sophistication, old world charm and Latin charisma, not to mention its position on the tropical southern Caribbean coast of the Dominican Republic.

The only blight on the landscape is the crime rate robbery, muggings and petty theft are common so guard your belongings with care.

It boasts the western hemispheres first cathedral, first monastery, first hospital, first university and first law court. This rich colonial heritage, sparked off in the 15th century by legendary Spanish explorer Christopher Columbus, has been turned into a World Heritage Site in the heart of the city, known as the Colonial City.

The superb shopping, delicious dining, dazzling casinos, seductive parks and vibrant nightlife all beckon enticingly, from the monumental Columbus Lighthouse right down to the depths of nightclubs with multi level dance floors inside a real cave.

The most modern memento to Santo Domingos status as the oldest European city in the Americas is a mammoth structure built on the eastern shore of the Ozama River in the early 1990s to commemorate the 500th anniversary of Columbus arrival in the New World. The building is 693ft long and built in the shape of a cross at a 45degree angle. It houses what the Dominican Republic claims are the remains of Columbus himself and is fitted with intense lights which project the image of the cross into the sky at night. The monument was designed by English architect J L Gleave, who won an international competition for the design after 455 plans were submitted by architects from 48 different countries. The building is also the repository for numerous documents and artefacts associated with the early Spanish colonial times.

The vast green square in the heart of Santo Domingo serves as the cities cultural and artistic showcase, being fronted by a cluster of four museums, as well as the National Theatre. The museums are the Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of History and Geography, the Museum of Natural History and the Museum of Dominican Man. The National Theatre runs a full programme of opera, ballet, music and drama productions.
About the Author
Douglas Scott works for The Rental Car Hire Specialist. and is a free lance writer for The Santo Domingo Rental Site
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