Monasterio de San Francisco, Santo Domingo

Travel back to the early years of colonialism at Monasterio de San Francisco, the ruins of the New World's first monastery. Set up by Franciscans, the complex dates from 1508. Its tempestuous history includes being set ablaze by Elizabethan explorer Sir Francis Drake in 1586, followed by destruction and reconstruction after consecutive earthquakes in 1673 and 1751. Originally consisting of three connected chapels, the monastery last served as a mental asylum from the late 18th century to the 1930s, when a hurricane dealt it a fatal blow. (Look for the chains used to shackle patients, still scattered around.) Check tourist information centers for a schedule of events, as the ruins host open-air concerts on occasion. For travelers who use our custom trip planner, Santo Domingo holidays become easier to arrange, with trips to the Monasterio de San Francisco and other attractions mapped out and timetabled.
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  • Located in the colonial area and though in ruins it is charming with its sinuous arches. Yet another testimony of Italian ingenuity in that land. Very picturesque looks ideal for a souvenir photo. However it is worth a visit
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  • This is one of the best places to be in Santo Domingo on a Sunday night and not to miss. There is a free concert where thousands of Dominicans are having a wild and fun street party. We had a blast he...  more »
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