Amazing Santo Domingo
The private beach of Aura Beach, located outside the city, is not even close to what you imagine when you think of the beaches of the Dominican Republic. Sun loungers do not stand here in rows, and there is no struggle for a better place. Every place here is as comfortable as it is nearby. Unlike the island resorts of this region, here, literally a stone’s throw away from Santo Domingo, there really is a place where you can just sunbathe 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 refined bliss of decadence.
What you may not know is that Santo Domingo is in fact a city with a rich historical and cultural heritage. It was here that passed the path, trodden at the same time by pioneers, conquerors and pirates. Here, every cobblestone pavement breathes history, and at home in the colonial style they tell stories about winners and losers. In the end, it was here that the foot of the conqueror set foot on the land of the two Americas for the first time.
The midday heat is declining, and the blue of the sky is gradually giving way to the colorful riot of orange and red. The landscape turns into vague silhouettes of palm trees and wicker huts standing on stilts right in the warm waters of the Caribbean.
In general, it is not surprising that this idyllic island was the first that was inhabited by immigrants from Europe, in the distant sixteenth century. It was here that Christopher Columbus landed on December 5, 1492, he named this island “Espanyol” in honor of a distant homeland. In the annals of history, this day will remain as the first stop on the dramatic way of conquering the Americas.
The colonial wars and conflicts of the following centuries led to the flood of the Caribbean Sea by the Portuguese, the Spanish, the French, the Dutch, and the British, constantly fighting for control of the sea. Do not forget about the pirates, who spoiled the blood of each other and everything else. All this led to the fact that every idyllic island of the region has become someone yes populated.
The colonial quarter of Santo Domingo, with its cobbled streets and elegant houses, still retains the spirit of that era. Now here are the best restaurants, hotels, boutiques, and historical monuments, like the current and still the Cathedral of Santa Maria, built in the distant sixteenth century. The local atmosphere will instantly pull you away during the beginning of the colonization, when the very first European city in the Antilles was still breathing youthful.
One of the oldest buildings in the historic center is the “Sofitel Nicolas de Ovando”, a beautiful two-story mansion with columns, wooden arches, galleries and a courtyard that has been lush with tropical vegetation. Here you will surely be accepted as the dearest guest – after all, it was customary to receive guests from the governor of Hispaniola, Nicolas de Owando, whose name wears today the mansion. De Ovando 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 will surely remember his voice and gait.
Next door, literally a short walk along the cobbled streets, is the governor’s palace, the Alcazar de Colon, built in the 16th century. This house in which Christopher Columbus’ firstborn lived, Don Diego Colon, stands right on the central square of the city. This building is the oldest government residence in America, and today there is a museum of medieval and Renaissance art (by the way, the local collection is the most significant in the Caribbean).
Today, in Santo Domingo, filled with wandering 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 pictures of the local state museum, only engraved dishes and rare black and white photographs remind of the colonial past of this wonderful island.