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    Explore the vast openness and wildlife found roaming in the western United States, including Theodore Roosevelt National Park (pictured) in North Dakota. Begin Your Journey!

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Architecture of Dominican Republic

Dominican Architecture - Altos de Chavon
Altos de Chavon

The architecture of the Dominican Republic is severely limited as no true buildings exist from the pre-Columbian times. Although the first settlers built much, they shifted capitals later and much of their early structures were either wood so have not lasted or are forts. During much of the country's early history they fell under Spanish rule and their capital was soon shifted to Santo Domingo, one of the first European cities in the Americas. Due to this, all of the country's most impressive architecture is found there.

Dominican Architecture - Beach houses
Beach houses

Santo Domingo's heart is the Zona Colonial, which was the Spanish colonial center and home to many of the country's oldest structures. Here there are numerous Spanish colonial buildings from as early as the 1500s. The Spanish had a tendency to build their colonies in the same styles popular in Spain at the time.

Santo Domingo and the Zona Colonial is home to numerous structures that were the first of their kind in the Americas. The Fortaleza Ozama is the oldest fortress, the Alcazar de Colon is the first castle (and former resident of Christopher Columbus's son, Don Diego Colon), the first convent in the Dominican Convent, and Catedral Santa Maria La Menor, the first cathedral in the Americas.

In addition to these firsts, the Zona Colonial is home to a number of other great churches and houses. These structures stretch from late Gothic to Baroque in style as many of the houses are simple and gothic in style, but some later churches are Baroque. Over time under Spanish rule the structures and styles varied; this is best seen in the Zona Colonial, but also can be seen in a singly complex, the Museo de las Casas Reales, whose buildings date from the early 1500s in the gothic style to the 1800s in the Baroque style.

Dominican Architecture - Santo Domingo
Santo Domingo

Although modern building materials and techniques have been brought to the Dominican Republic, the island has only adopted a few skyscrapers and outrageously unique modern buildings. Many of the country's current buildings are built from this newer technology, but the people have not yet decided to create buildings that stand out as extraordinarily unique with a few exceptions. Among the most impressive of the country's modern buildings is the Centro Olimpico Juan Pablo Duarte sports complex (2003) in Santo Domingo.

This page was last updated: March, 2013