Thursday, July 19, 2012

Santo Domingo Trip: The Cathedral


How are you? It has been a while since I've been able to write. Last week-end, I visited the Colonial Zone in Santo Domingo for the first time. I can't believe it took me this long to get there!

Our first stop was Parque Colón (Columbus Park) which has a statue of Christopher Columbus in the centre. We ate lunch in the shade under the tree on the right. It was hot in Santo Domingo!

Here is a closer view of the cathedral at the far end of the square. It  is the Cathedral of Saint Mary the Younger but is also called the Primate (First) Cathedral of the Americas. It was built in the early 1500's and, while it is debatable whether it is really the first church in the Americas, it is said to be the earliest church in the Americas that is still in use today.

The entrance on the opposite side is more detailed

but I was more impressed by the ceiling on the inside!

Francis Drake ransacked the cathedral in 1586 and destroyed the original contents. Here is how they look today:

The cathedral has fourteen chapels on the sides, a couple of which you can see behind the columns.

Many people have been buried in the chapels and in the cathedral's crypt. Dominicans claim that the remains of Christopher Columbus are in this Cathedral but they also acknowledge that they could have been moved to a much more modern lighthouse which they have constructed on the other side of the river.

There is also a monument in Spain that is believed to hold Columbus' bones but our enthusiastic tour guide was convinced that they are here in the Dominican Republic. He, along with Lonely Planet Dominican Republic, provided the facts for this message. I hope you've enjoyed it!

Marcie Cooper

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