Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic is the oldest continuously inhabited European settlement in the New World. The city’s Colonial Zone, a three square kilometer area (just over one square mile), was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1990.
As the first city in the New World, Santo Domingo has an amazing number of the historic churches, forts, houses, and palaces that were built during the colonization. Even though some sites such as the Ruinas del Monasterio de San Francisco exist only as a protected ruin, many of the other colonial era buildings have been restored or repurposed to benefit both tourists and locals.
In fact, much of the original city can still be seen. With the New World’s first cathedral, first stone house, first hospital, first monastery, and first palace, among others, Santo Domingo’s Colonial Zone can rightly be called “the city of firsts”.
The city’s Colonial Zone is a compact, walkable collection of 15th and 16th century buildings, plazas, statues, and pedestrian-only cobblestone streets. The below photo gallery will take you on a visual tour of this unique city.
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