Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Dominican Republic - Colonial City of Santo Domingo

Colonial City of Santo Domingo.

Sent by Idrialis from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

After the arrival of Christopher Columbus on the island of Hispaniola in 1492, Santo Domingo became the site of the first cathedral, hospital, customs house and university in the Americas. This colonial town was laid out on the grid pattern that became the model for almost all town planners in the New World.
The first impression of the Spanish colonizers was favourable: the nature was luxuriant; the aborigines were friendly, and it seemed that the ground was rich in gold. Using what was left of the Santa María, Columbus built the fort of the Nativity (Navidad) on the northern coast of the island not far away from a peak that he called Christi Mount, leaving 39 men there under the protection of the village head. When Columbus returned to Hispaniola a year later, the fort had been destroyed, his men were dead, and the aborigines had become mistrustful. He founded a new colony further to the east, which he called Isabella, and left it under the control of Bartholomew. However, the first revolts were very soon to begin.
In 1496, Bartholomew abandoned Isabella in order to move on the southern coast of the island, where he established the settlement of Nueva Isabella, now Santo Domingo, on the left bank of the Ozama River. Because of the insurrections that continued to upset the island, Columbus was replaced as Viceroy and Governor of the colony by Nicolás de Ovando. In 1502 a typhoon destroyed the city and the fleet that was preparing to return to Castile. Ovando decided that the city should be completely rebuilt on its present site on the Ozama.
This colonial town was laid out on the grid pattern that became the model for almost all town planners in the New World. The city was to be embellished with a cathedral, a hospital, convents, a fortress and a university. At that time it was not appropriate to describe these buildings as having been built in the colonial architectural style because they were all based on plans that faithfully followed models imported from Spain. Earthquakes and pirate attacks were in due course to ravage the main buildings of the city, such as the convents of the Dominican, Franciscan and Las Mercedes, the three religious orders that pioneered the evangelization of the New World, and the Hospital of Nicolás de Ovando.
Among the most outstanding buildings, the cathedral was constructed between 1514 and 1542; it is the oldest in America, and is one of the architectural wonders of the Colonial City. The main entrance stands next to the Columbus Plaza, where stands a giant statue of the great navigator himself. The fine stained glass is by the famed Dominican artist José Rinçon Mora.
The Ozama Fortress and Tower of Homage were built in 1503: this stone group is said to be the oldest formal military outpost still standing in America. The Tower of Homage still stands in the centre of the grounds, an impressive architectural structure that is medieval in style and design. (Source)


Rich said...

Kudos for this accomplishment! How did you do it.

I've been to Punta Cana, DR but all the locals (who spoke any English) could not venture a guess on how to post a card. Many claimed the DR had no postal system. All businesses shipped using package services (FedEx, DHL) etc.

I was able to "locate" a post office on Google Maps in Santo Domingo but was advised that I would require detailed local assistance to find my way to it as maps and signage were unreliable.

How did you do it?

TJ AND ALIA said...

Rich,this postcard was mailed by the resident of Santo Domingo. I'm pretty sure she mailed it with ordinary postal system and not those of package services. This postcard took about 7 weeks to reach Malaysia.
I'll get the details about the postal system from the sender later.

Idrialis Castillo said...

Hello Rich and TJ.

Dominican Republic has an EXTRAORDINARY RELIABLE postal system.

It has locations nationwide.

I use the HQ since it's just 3 streets from my house and I can go biking or walking (and save gas).

I've sent all kind of packages to another cities within the country and to another far away countries. They all reach their destination.

The problem with the locals is that MOST of the people ARE NOT into sending snailmails or parcels. Not locally not oversears. If we need to mail something we use email and if we need to mail a package, people use DHL or private courriers because they have lot of marketing out there, but in fact they are way more expensive.

In my experience, our postal system is awasome.
Only thing is that postcards takes too long to arrive in countries located in Asia and Africa. Postcards are not considerate priorities so, they take their time, but they do ALWAYS arrive.

PS: Google Maps is reliable too. That's what I use to move around the city I live, Santo Domingo (the capital), and it has never sent me to a wrong place.