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Santo Domingo, is the capital and largest city in the Dominican Republicmarker. Its metropolitan population was 2,084,852 in 2003, estimated at 2,253,437 in 2006. The city is located on the Caribbean Seamarker, at the mouth of the Ozama River. Founded by Bartholomew Columbus in 1496, it is the oldest continuously inhabited European settlement in the Americas, and was the first seat of Spanish colonial rule in the New World. Santo Domingo came to be known as the "Gateway to the Caribbean". In 1930, the city of Santo Domingo (excluding the Colonial Zone) was extensively damaged by tropical hurricane San Zenón. President Rafael Trujillo reconstructed the city and named it Ciudad Trujillo after himself. After his assassination in 1961, Ciudad Trujillo once again became Santo Domingo de Guzmán. Santo Domingo is within the boundaries of the Distrito Nacional (D.N.; "National District") and Santo Domingo Province surrounds it.

Please note: When this article refers to Santo Domingo it is most likely referring to the Greater Santo Domingo Area (D.N. plus Santo Domingo Province) to avoid confusion of the terms. In some cases it may state "D.N.", which strictly refers to the city proper, i.e., excluding the surrounding province of Santo Domingo.

History

Columbus Park


Fortaleza Ozama, one of the historic buildings in Santo Domingo




Before the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1492, the Taíno people populated the island they called Quisqueya (mother of all lands) and Ayiti (land of high mountains), which Columbus named Hispaniolamarker. It includes the part now occupied by the Republic of Haitimarker. At the time, the island's territory consisted of five chiefdoms: Marién, Maguá, Maguana, Jaragua, and Higüey. These were ruled respectively by caciques (chiefs) Guacanagarix, Guarionex, Caonabo, Bohechío, and Cayacoa.

Dating to 1496, when the Spanishmarker settled there, and officially to 5 August 1498, Santo Domingo is the oldest European city in America. Bartholomew Columbus founded the settlement and named it La Isabela, after the Queen of Spain Isabella I. It was later renamed "Santo Domingo", in honor of Saint Dominic.

Santo Domingo was destroyed by a hurricane in 1502, and the new Governor Nicolás de Ovando had it rebuilt on a different site nearby. The original layout of the city and a large portion of its defensive wall can still be appreciated today throughout the Colonial Zone, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCOmarker in 1990. The Colonial Zone, bordered by the Río Ozama, also has an impressive collection of 16th century buildings, including palatial houses and majestic churches that reflect the architectural style of the late medieval period.

The city's most important colonial buildings include the Catedral Santa María La Menormarker, called La Catedral Primada de América, America's First Cathedral, which states its distinction; the Alcázar de Colón, America's first castle, once the residence of Viceroy of the Indies Don Diego Colón, a son of Christopher Columbus; the Monasterio de San Francisco, the ruins of the first monastery in America; the Museo de las Casas Reales, the former Palace of the Governor General and the Palace of Royal Audiences; the Parque Colón, a historic square; the Fortaleza Ozamamarker, the oldest fortress in America; the Pantéon Nacional, a former Jesuit edifice now hosting the remains of various renowned members of the Dominican Order; and the Iglesia del Convento Dominico, the first convent in America.

Throughout its first century, Santo Domingo was the launching pad for much of the exploration and conquest of the New World. The expeditions that led to Hernando Cortes' conquest of Mexicomarker and Balboa's sighting of the Pacific Oceanmarker all started from Santo Domingo.

In 1586, Francis Drake captured the city, which he held for ransom. Drake's invasion and pillaging of Hispaniola so weakened Spanish dominion over the island that for more than 50 years all but the capital was abandoned and left to the mercy of the pirates. An expedition sent by Oliver Cromwell in 1655 attacked the city of Santo Domingo, but was defeated, and withdrew and took Jamaicamarker, instead.

From 1795 to 1822 the city changed hands several times along with the colony it headed. It was ceded to France in 1795, captured by rebellious Haitian slaves in 1801, recovered by France in 1802, recovered by Spain in 1809. In 1821 Santo Domingo became the capital of an independent nation, Haití Español. This was two months later conquered by Haiti. The city and the colony lost much of their Spanish population as a result of these events.

Santo Domingo was again the capital of a free nation, when Dominicans gained their independence from Haitian rule on February 27, 1844 led by their national hero Juan Pablo Duarte. The city was a prize fought over by various political factions over the succeeding decades of instability. In addition, the country had to fight multiple battles with Haiti; the Battle of March 19, Battle of March 30, Battle of Las Carreras, and Battle of Beler, are a few of the most prominent encounters, mentioned in the national anthem and with city streets named after them. In 1861 Spain returned to the country, having struck a bargain with Dominican leader Pedro Santana whereby the latter was granted several honorific titles and privileges, in exchange for annexing the young nation back to Spanish rule. The Dominican Restoration War began in 1863 however, and in 1865 the country was free again after Spain withdrew.

Over the next two-thirds of a century Santo Domingo and the Dominican Republic went through many revolutions, power changes, and occupation by the United States, 1916–24. The city was struck by hurricane San Zenón in 1930, which caused major damage. After its rebuilding, Santo Domingo was known officially as Ciudad Trujillo in honor of dictator Rafael Leónidas Trujillo, who governed from 1930. Following his assassination in 1961 the city was renamed back to Santo Domingo. It was the scene of street fighting during the 1965 United States occupation of the Dominican Republic.

The year 1992 marked the 500th anniversary, El Quinto Centenario, of Christopher Columbus' Discovery of America. The Columbus Lighthouse – Faro a Colónmarker – with an approximate cost of 400 million Dominican pesos and amidst great controversy, was erected in Santo Domingo in honor of this occasion.

Geography

Santo Domingo de Guzman(DN) and the municipality of Santo Domingo Este(S.D Province) separated by the Ozama River
Santo Domingo is separated from east to west by the Ozama River The river flows 148 kilometers before emptying into the Caribbean Sea. This position was of great importance to the city's economic development and the growth of trade during colonial times. The Ozama River is where the country's busiest port is located.

Metropolitan Santo Domingo is divided into four municipal Sections mostly for administrative reasons. These sections are Santo Domingo Norte, Santo Domingo Este, Santo Domingo Oeste, which all together make part of the Santo Domingo province and Santo Domingo de Guzmanmarker which is within the D.N boundaries, all of which have different administrative orders. Santo Domingo to the north has the section of Villa Mellamarker (Municipal District) which makes part of Santo Domingo Norte (Municipal Section). To the east it has San Isidro (Municipal District) and to the west it borders Province of San Cristobal and Bajos de Haina. The Ozama River and Isabella end at the Center of Santo Domingo. Santo Domingo is relatively low in altitude with several high hills.

Climate

Under the Koppen climate classification, Santo Domingo features a Tropical monsoon climate. The average temperature varies little in the city, because the tropical tradewinds help mitigate the heat and humidity throughout the year. Thanks to these tradewinds, Santo Domingo seldom experiences the oppressive heat and humidity that one may expect to find in a tropical climate. December and January are the coolest months and July and August are the warmest. Santo Domingo averages 1445 mm of precipitation per year. Its driest months are from January through April, however due to the tradewinds, precipitation is seen even during these months. Because its driest month is just below 60 mm, Santo Domingo falls under the Tropical monsoon climate category. Like many other nations in the Caribbeanmarker, Santo Domingo is very susceptible to hurricanes.

Economic development

Santo Domingo Skyline


The city is the center of economic activity in the Dominican Republic. Many national and international firms have their headquarters or regional offices in Santo Domingo. The city attracts many international firms and franchises due to its geographic location, stability and vibrant economy.

The infrastructure is adequate for most business operations, however power outages continue to be a problem in certain parts of the city. A key element that has helped the city thrive and compete globally is the telecommunications infrastructure. For many years the Dominican Republic has enjoyed a modern and state of the art telecommunications system due to its privatization and integration with the US system.

Santo Domingo contains a wide variety of incomes, ranging from the extremely poor to the highly rich. Areas of high income families are found in the central Polygon of the city, which is bordered by the Avenida John F. Kennedy to the North, Avenida 27 de Febrero to the South, Avenida Winston Churchill to the west and Avenida Maximo Gomez to the east and is characterized by its mostly residential area and its distinguished nightlife.

Santo Domingo has areas of high development like Naco, Arroyo Hondo, Piantini, Paraiso, Bella Vista, Sarasota and other neighborhoods, which mostly consist of costly buildings and luxury houses, contrasting with the outskirts of the city like Villa Mellamarker, Los Alcarrizosmarker and Herrera which are less economically developed.

Bella Vista and La Esperilla are currently the neighborhoods with the highest income growth and with tall mega-construction projects sparking the city skyline. Gazcue is one of the more historic places in the city, dating back to its early construction in the 1930s until the 60's.

Santo Domingo Skyline


Commercial centers in the city are mostly found in Avenida Winston Churchill, where large plazas like Acropolis Center and large supermarkets are found. This area is home to most of the banks in the city like Scotiabank, Citibank, Banco BHD, Banco del Progreso, Banreservas to name a few. 27 de Febrero Avenue is very commercially successful and is considered the most important crosstown avenue in the city. The oldest mall plazas in the country are Plaza Central and Plaza Naco, which served as the first commercial center in the city until the recent construction of others, which quickly became new alternatives. Bella Vista Mall and the Acropolis Center are two of the newest malls built in the city, attracting much of the high income families.

Most of the city's poor live in the barrios outside the center. Some live in extreme conditions of poverty and in slums, intensifying the city's economic contrast. Santo Domingo Nortemarker is statistically the poorest subdivision of the metropolitan area.

Government and politics

National Palace Santo Domingo
Santo Domingo is the center of the national government of the Dominican Republic. The National Palace, which is the President's office, as well as the National Congress, are located in the metropolitan area.The current mayor of the City of Santo Domingo is Roberto Esmérito Salcedo of the governing Dominican Liberation Party. The City is administered by the Ayuntamiento del Distrito Nacional (City Hall), which is responsible for municipal functions. The "Policia Nacional" (National Police) and "Policia Turística" (Tourist Police) (POLITUR) are assigned for enforcing city safety.

Landmarks

Catedral Santa María La Menor (Catedral Primada de América), the first cathedral in America.


Famous landmarks in Santo Domingo include the Calle El Conde, the Puerta de la Misericordia, the Catedral Santa María La Menormarker (Catedral Primada de América), and the Alcázar de Colón, all of which are located within the Zona Colonial district of the city. This part was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1990.

Faro a Colón


Outside of the colonial quarters, the area surrounding the Malecón (seawall) is a vibrant commercial and tourist center, having as a centerpiece the large obelisk located at the eastern end of the George Washington avenue.

Other places of interest are Plaza de la Cultura, which houses the city's most important cultural venues such as the Teatro Nacionalmarker and the Museo de Arte Moderno; the Palacio de Bellas Artes, a neoclassical theatre that is the permanent home of the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional (National Symphony Orchestra); the Parque Mirador Sur, a six square kilometers park in the southwestern part of the city; the Faro a Colónmarker, a cross-shaped lighthouse built in honor of Christopher Columbus; and the Boulevard 27 de Febrero, a pedestrian promenade located on the busy Avenida 27 de Febrero which displays many works of art from prominent Dominican artists and sculptors.

Another attraction is the Centro Olímpico Juan Pablo Duartemarker a sports complex in the center of Santo Domingo. This complex was used during the 2003 Pan American Games.

Museums

Santo Domingo is the location of numerous museums dedicated to the history of the Dominican Republic. Most of them are within the Zona Colonial District.



Parks and recreational areas

:See Also:Santo Domingo Greenbelt
Santo Domingo has various parks, three of which are called Miradores and are located in the North, South and east sections of the city. Even though these parks are relatively big, Santo Domingo still lacks enough recreational areas. Santo Domingo (D.N) is surrounded by the Santo Domingo Greenbelt.





Malls & Plazas

  • Diamond Mall
  • Bella Vista Mall
  • IKEA
  • Plaza Las Americas
  • Megacentro Mall
  • Plaza Central
  • Plaza Naco
  • Malecon Center Mall
  • Acropolis Center Mall
  • Blue Mall (Under Construction)
  • Galerias 360 Mall (Under Construction)
  • Diandy XX (Under Construction)
  • Sky Mall (Under Construction)
  • Plaza Lama


Transportation

Informal

Santo Domingo is provided with a variety of informal transportation systems. These include motoconchos (motorcycle taxis), guaguas/voladoras (public buses that are known for their generally bad conditions and the driver's reckless driving), and carros publicos/conchos (shared taxis that stop at certain intervals or wherever there are passengers on a street.).There are however several bus services like the government owned and operated OMSA which has a fleet of air conditioned buses with regular stops for about $10 Dominican.OMSA operates long routes that transverse the metro area and are very popular with poor and middle class folks. Efforts are being made to modernize the fleet and to complement the new subway system. However, due to the long hours of operation, long routes and high demand, coupled with high parts costs, these buses lifespan is usually less than ten years.

Highways

Santo Domingo De Guzman is the terminus for three of the five national highways, each of this three beginning around the Zona Colonial of the city. The city is connected to the Southwest of the republic by the national highway DR-2, to the northwest of the republic by DR-1 serving as a direct link to the city of Santiago de los Caballerosmarker. DR-3 connects Santo Domingo directly to the east of the country including the cities of San Pedro de Macorismarker, La Romana, and major touristic sites like Punta Canamarker and Bavaromarker, and to the Samaná Province(northeast) via the Samana highway.

Rail

Santo Domingo's Metro, (The Alstom Metropolis 9000 series)


The Santo Domingo Metro is a 15 km underground and elevated system consisting of six proposed lines. The first line begins elevated at Villa Mella (Santo Domingo Nortemarker), located north of the Isabela River and north of the city center and ends at Centro de los Héroes in the southern coast of Santo Domingo, near the seawall district (Malecon). Some of the stops on the first line are the Teatro Nacionalmarker (National Theatre), the main campus of the Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo (UASD) and Avenida Lincoln. The first line is already in service.

The second line is proposed to run in an east-west direction beneath Avenida 27 de Febrero, crossing the first line. The third line will also run in an east-west direction, but it will run beneath Avenida John F. Kennedy.

The Charles de Gaulle station is named after Dominican martyr Florinda Soriano Muñoz (Mamá Tingó).

Airports

  • Las Américas International Airport
Las Américas International Airport's Terminal A and B


Santo Domingo is served by two international airports, the main one being Las Américas International Airportmarker ( ). The airport has two terminals, the newer one just completed in 2006 added four more gates on the northern end of the facility. The airport is currently the busiest in the country, handling over 2.5 million passengers per year. The airport is located in Punta Caucedo, 15 kilometers east of the D.N on DR-3(Autopista de Las Americas)

  • La Isabela International Airport


The Aeropuerto Internacional La Isabelamarker is a secondary, newly constructed airport located in the northern section of the city, within kilometres of the city center. It is not currently used as a major international airport, servicing mostly domestic and charter flights. It was built to replace the obsolete Herrera Airport, which was considered by many too dangerous due to the proximity to commercial and residential areas. La Isabela Airport is also conveniently located just on the outskirts of the city and most of the internal flights of the country can be carried out here, flights to the north of the island such as Samana can be booked here with airlines serving like caribair and aerodomca. Many pilots also cited the length of the runway as inadequate for most private jets.

Ports

  • Port of Santo Domingo: Sans Souci
Port of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic: Sans Souci is located in the Ozama River. Its location at the center of the Caribbean is well suited for flexible itinerary planning and has excellent support, road and airport infrastructure within the Santo Domingo region, which facilitate access and transfers. The port is suitable for both turnaround and transit calls.

The port’s renovation is part of a major redevelopment project, aimed at integrating the port area and the Zona Colonial and foster a cruise, yacht and high-end tourism destination. Supported by legislation approved in 2005, the project, developed by the Sans Souci Group also includes the development of a new sports marina and a 122-acre mixed-leisure real estate development adjacent to the port.

Communication

Television

There are 15 TV stations (both UHF and VHF) in Santo Domingo. Santo Domingo has the greatest number of TV signals in the country, followed by Santiago De los Caballeros.

Additional cable TV channels are provided by companies like Aster, Cable TV Dominicana, SKY Dominicana and Telecable.

VHF
  • Teleantillas (2)
  • CERTV (4)
  • Telemicro (5)
  • Antena Latina (7)
  • Color Visión (9)
  • Telesistema (11)
  • Telecentro (13)


UHF
  • Digital 15 (15)
  • Telefuturo (23)
  • RNN (27)
  • Supercanal (33)
  • CDN (37)
  • Coral 39 (39)
  • Teleradio América (canal 45)
  • Santo Domingo TV (canal 69)


Radio

In Santo Domingo there are 100 different stations in AM frequency and 44 in FM frequency.

Telephone services

CODETEL (Compañía Dominicana de Teléfonos) was originally the provider of telephone service in the Dominican Republic since the 1940s. The company was later bought by GTE (later Verizon). By 2004 the company was named Verizon Dominicana and was later sold to América Móvil; it was named CODETEL again, because of marketing strategy. The company uses the name Claro GSM/CDMA for its cellular phones division. The second landline competitor is Tricom, which is a minor competitor, Codetel being the dominant service provider in the country. Other mobile providers include Tricom CDMA, Viva CDMA/GSM and Orange GSM, the last and Claro having the majority of the mobile phone service provider market.

The national area codes are 809 and 829. In 2005 a new area code (829) was made as an overlay of 809 due to the increase of fax, internet, mobile, and ground lines created in the last decade. The Dominican Republic uses +1-809-XXX-XXXX and +1-829-XXX-XXXX as the official format for telephone numbers.

In late May 2009, INDOTEL raised and adapted the idea of introducing a new area code (849), with the purpose of increasing the availability of more line numbers in the country. INDOTEL said they will launch a new television campaign to promote the new code.

Internet

.do is the internet code for The Dominican Republic. The Dominican Republic has an estimated 2,000,000 internet users.

Education

There are eighteen universities in Santo Domingo, the highest number of any city in the Dominican Republic. Established in 1538, Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo (UASD) is the oldest university in the New World and is also the only public university in the city. Santo Domingo holds the nation's highest percentage of residents with a higher education degree. .





Photo gallery

Image:MaleconG.jpg|The coast of the City of Santo Domingo. "El Malecón"Image:Santo_Domingo_15.jpg‎|Santo Domingo's modern architecture.Image:Santo Domingo 10.jpg| Section of La Esperilla, a are of high development within the Distrito NacionalImage:Zona Colonial 2.jpg|Town Houses in Zona ColonialImage:Santo Domingo 13.jpg|John F. Kennedy Avenue, Santo Domingo.Image:SD Noche 2.jpg|Santo Domingo at night.Image:Building_in_Zona_Colonial,_Santo_Domingo.jpg|1600's Colonial style buildings in Zona ColonialImage:Avenida Anacaona.jpg|Anacaona Avenue in Santo Domingo.Image:BellaVistamall.jpg|Bella Vista Mall & Plaza, the city’s newest upscale mallImage:Downtown Santo Domingo1.jpg|Downtown Area

Image:Alcazar de Colon.jpg|Alcazar de Colon

Sister cities

Santo Domingo has three sister cities designated by Sister Cities International:
Santo Domingo also has twinning agreements with the following sister cities:




Notable residents



See also





References

  1. Meining 1986:9
  2. Mary Louise Pratt, Imperial Eyes, 2007, p. 70
  3. Online Directory: Dominican Republic, Caribbean Sister Cities International, Inc. (SCI)
  4. La Guardia y Santo Domingo, dos ciudades hermanas (Spanish)
  • Meinig, D.W. (1986). The Shaping of America: a Geographic Perspective on 500 Years of History. Volume I - Atlantic America, 1492-1800. New Haven: Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-03882-8
  • Santo Domingo; Fragmentos De Patria by Banreservas ISBN 99934-898-9-5



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