SANTO DOMINGO is a UNESCO world heritage site.
Santo Domingo is the oldest European settlement in the New World that is still inhabited. Capital of the Dominican Republic, Santo Domingo preserves the atmosphere and charm of the old colonial town, with its palaces, monuments, paved squares, churches and ruins.
The discovery of America by Cristophor Columbus (known here as Cristobal Colon) was marked by Columbus’ first step on Hispaniola island, on the 6th of December, 1492. Convinced he had arrived in Cipango, Japan, coming from the West, Columbus called the islands the West Indies and he returned three times, convinced that beyond the island lay the palaces filled with gold, precious stones and expensive spices that belonged to the Great Khan Cathay, as Marco Polo told him.
The town was founded in 1502 by Columbus’ brother, Bartholomew, and in 1508 Columbus’ son, Diego, was named governor of the Indias. In time, the town developed into the most important seat of power in the area.
Santo Domingo is home to the first cathedral built on the American continent (the construction started in 1510), and the urban plan designed for the city became a masterplan for almost all urban plans in America.
In 1586, the town was invaded by the famous corsair Francis Drake and his fleet of twenty ships.
With its narrow streets and monuments, the shiny white of the colonial buildings and its relaxed Caribbean air, Santo Domingo is a charming town, of a beauty that seems suspended in time.