WELCOME TO SANTO DOMINGO
On the cafe-lined Plaza de España is the Alcázar de Colón palace. It’s now one of the city’s many museums, displaying notable medieval and Renaissance art.
To this day, Santo Domingo is still a lively, thriving metropolis and the largest city in the Caribbean by population. But it’s also so much more: The sounds of merengue, bachata and salsa drifting from a Malecón nightclub or the smells of conch gratinée wafting from a romantic café in Zona Colonial.
Visit the first church Catedral Primada de América, the first stronghold Fortaleza Ozama and the oldest street Calle Las Damas in the Americas.
Santo Domingo was founded in 1496 by Bartholomew Columbus, brother of Christopher Columbus, as the capital of the first Spanish colony in the New World. The original city site was located on the left (east) bank of the Ozama River and was called Nueva Isabela in honour of Queen Isabella I of Spain.
It was destroyed by a hurricane, however, and was rebuilt in 1502 at its present location on the right bank of the river. It became the starting point of most of the Spanish expeditions of exploration and conquest of the other islands of the West Indies and the adjacent mainland. The colony prospered as the seat of government of the Spanish possessions in the Americas until the conquest of Mexico and Peru, after which its importance declined.