Amazing Santo Domingo
The private Aura Beach, located outside the city, is not even close to what you imagine when you think about the beaches of the Dominican Republic. Sun loungers here do not stand in rows, and there is no struggle for a better place. Each place is as comfortable as the neighboring one. Unlike the island resorts of this region, here – literally a stone’s throw from Santo Domingo, there really is a place where you can just soak up the sun for hours on end.
Before dawn, you can have dinner with pasta with seafood, which will be served directly to your personal deck chair, standing at the very edge of the ocean. Where, if not here, you can taste the sophisticated bliss of decadence.
What you may not know is that Santo Domingo is actually a city with a rich historical and cultural heritage. It was here that a path passed, trodden simultaneously by discoverers, conquerors and pirates. Here, every cobblestone pavement breathes history, and houses in the colonial style are fraught with tales of winners and losers. In the end, it was here that the conqueror’s foot first set foot on the land of two Americas.
The midday heat is declining, and the blue of the sky is gradually giving way to a colorful riot of orange and red. The landscape turns into blurry silhouettes of palm trees and wicker huts, standing on stilts directly in the warm waters of the Caribbean Sea.
In general, it is not surprising that this idyllic island was the first to be inhabited by immigrants from Europe in the distant sixteenth century. It was here that Christopher Columbus landed on December 5, 1492, it was this island that he named “Hispaniola” in honor of his distant homeland. In the annals of history, this day will remain as the first stop on the dramatic path of conquering the Americas.
The colonial wars and conflicts of the following centuries led to the fact that the Portuguese, Spaniards, French, Dutch and British, constantly fighting for control of the sea, flooded the Caribbean. Do not forget about the pirates who spoiled the blood of each other and everyone else. All this has led to the fact that every idyllic islet of the region has become something and inhabited.
The colonial quarter of Santo Domingo, with its cobblestone pavement and elegant houses, has still retained the spirit of that era. Now here are the best restaurants, hotels, boutiques, and historical monuments, such as the existing Cathedral of Santa Maria, built in the distant sixteenth century. The local atmosphere will instantly drag you away at the time of the beginning of colonization, when the very first European city on the Antilles was still breathing youth.
One of the oldest buildings in the historic center is Sofitel Nicolas de Ovando, a beautiful two-story mansion with columns, wooden arches, galleries and a courtyard lush with tropical vegetation. Here you will certainly be accepted as the most dear guest – after all, it was customary to receive guests from the Governor of Hispaniola, Nicolas de Owando, whose name the mansion today bears. De Owando ruled the island from 1502 to 1509 from here – by the way, the stones of the walls, beds with heavy canopies, and even some other furniture probably remember his voice and gait.
Next door, literally a short walk along the cobblestone streets, is the governor’s palace, Alcazar de Colon, built in the 16th century. This house, in which the first-born of Christopher Columbus, Don Diego Colon lived, stands right on the central square of the city. This building is the oldest government residence in America, and today it houses a museum of medieval and Renaissance art (by the way, the local collection is the largest in the Caribbean).
Today, in Santo Domingo, filled with lazy tourists, almost no one pays attention to the traces of history, the memory of the era of the beginning of the colonization of the New World. With the exception of one or two strange paintings of the local state museum, only engraved dishes and rare black and white photographs recall the colonial past of this wonderful island.