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Sight-Seeing in Santo Domingo

Parque de los Tres ojos
Four interconnected underwater ponds of volcanic origin with numerous stalactite and stalagmite formations. Each cavern's water is colored differently.
You can walk around the circumference of the largest and then descend the steps where you'll reach a boat that takes you across to the other side. There is also a recently discovered fourth lake.

Visitors Guidelines
In the Colonial City guides are available for hire for a small fee, or "tip". All wages should be negotiated before leaving for a tour with a tour guide. Also, be sure that your guide is one of the official guides from the Department of Travel and Tourism. These guides are easily identified by their identification badges worn on their shirts. Often locals pose as "official" guides, but are not as informed about certain buildings, and may try to negotiate higher fees from unsuspecting tourists.
 
Visitors should be aware that many sites, especially churches do not permit entry in shorts and mini-skirts. When out to tour the Colonial City it is usually wise for gentlemen to wear light pants and for women to wear slightly longer skirts, or pants. It is also advisable to wear collared short-sleeve shirts, or light long-sleeve shirts. T-shirts are sometimes not allowed inside some of the buildings.
The Conde Gate
The Conde Gate, or "Gate of the Count" frames the entrance to the Parque Independencia. In the middle of the park is the Altar of the Homeland, a white marble monument where the remains of the founders of the country have been laid to rest. Juan Pablo Duarte, Francisco del Rosario Sanchez, and Ana Ramon Matias Mella are magnificently captured in giant stone statues inside the monument.
The Cathedral
Constructed between 1514 and 1542, this cathedral 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, and a giant statue of the great navigator himself. The fine stained glass work is by the famed Dominican sartist Jose Rincon Mora. This is one site not to be missed by visitors to Santo Domingo! Visitors are to be reminded that slightly more formal attire is required to enter, this means no shorts or mini-skirts are permitted inside the cathedral.
 
Las Damas Street

Las Damas Street received its name as the principal walkway favored for afternoon strolls by the ladies of waiting of Maria de Toledo, wife of Diego Colon (or, Columbus), the son of Christopher Colon (or, Columbus).

Ozama Fortress and Tower of Homage
At the end of Las Damas street visitors will see a giant gate dating from the XVII century. Built in 1503, this stone building is said to be the oldest formal military outpost still standing in America. The Tower of Homage still stands in the center of the grounds, an impressive architectural structure, medieval in style and design.
San Francisco Monastery Ruins
The first monastery built in the new world was constructed by the Franciscan priests. The giant front gate of the monastery shows the magnificence of this unique structure.
Alcazar de Colon
Diego Colon (or, Columbus) had his house constructed on the banks of the Ozama river in 1510. This homestead became the center of colonial power. It was from this 22-room palace that the new world was governed. The building itself reflects a mixture of Gothic and Arabic styles, and was strongly influenced by the Spanish and Itlaian Renaissance. Alcazar De Colon is open to the public as a museum and houses many fine treasures of the colonial.
 
The Tostado House
This is the former residence of Francisco de Tostado, the country's first university professor. Interestingly, he died fom wounds obtained by a cannon blast during a raid commanded by Sir Francis Drake. Today, the museum houses the museum of the Dominican Family of the XIX century. Of special note are the gothic windows -- a rarity during that period.
Church and Convent of Las Mercedes
This unique and beautiful ensemble of XVI century buildings served as a backdrop for the novel "Don Juan" by Spaniard Tirso de Molina. It is the only place in the world where a Masonic Lodge stands next to a Catholic Church.
 
Our Lady of Altagracia Church
This building's wall was once shared with the Hospital-Church of Sant Nicolas de Ovando. Inside, the decoration is strongly influenced by Arab and Spanish art.

Santa Barbara Church
Built in what once was a sector populated mainly by sailors, the church received its name from the country's liberator, and first president, Juan Pablo Duarte. Inside, the building is decorated with beautiful Baroque paintings, while outside is the Plaza, extensively used by the local residents.
Casa del Cordon
This building was one of the first foundations laid during the XVIth century. Many experts believe two of Diego Colon's children were born here. The ornate front dooor, framed by a stone belt used by the Franciscan order is an important feature to the building.
 
Museum of the Royal Atarazanas
This palace was used as the official residence of the Colonial Governor. Many valuable pieces of the XVIth - XIXth century are exhibited in the museum. One of the main attractions is the collection of valuable undersea treasure uncovered in a 1976 expedition in territorial waters.
Panteon Nacional
Originally a Jesuit Church, the National Pantheon was built in 1714. It's current name and function were changed in 1958. Interesting notes are the intersected hallways forming a cross, and the giant, ornate brass lamp donated by the Spanish to the Dominican Republic.
El Callejon de los Curas (The Priests Narrow Street)
This little alley leads to the cloisters of the Cathedral. Visitors can see the surrounding colonial structures. Many of the other colonial buildings and churches can be viewed from this vantage point. Sculptures made by the expert Dominican artist Rotellinis stand throughout the alley.
 
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