"The island most loved by Columbus" Dominican Republic by jorgejuansanchez
Dominican Republic Travel Guide: 3,031 reviews and 6,799 photos
Santo Domingo, the capital of Dominican Republic, is a lovely town under UNESCO protection, and the first European town founded by the Europeans in America.
But what surprised me more during my visit to the country, was to learn that the tomb of Christopher Columbus, who died in Valladolid (Spain), in 1506, was inside the Cathedral of Santo Domingo!
I had been several times in Sevilla Cathedral, Spain, where there is a beautiful grave on the top of four pillars with the form of medieval chevaliers representing the four parts of Spain at that time: Castilla, Aragon, Leon and Navarra.
Then, somebody in the Cathedral of Santo Domingo explained me that after his death in Valladolid, Columbus body was taken to Santo Domingo, because La Espanola, the name that he gave to the whole island (today shared with Haiti), was his favourite and, according to his brothers and sons, the place where he wanted to be buried.
When the Spaniards gave independence to Dominican Republic in 1844 (well, in fact the Spanish from Spain lose the war against the Spaniards born in La Espanola, and were forced to grant independence), they took the tomb to Cuba, still a Spanish possession, and after losing this island against USA during the war of 1898, they send it to the Cathedral of Sevilla.
The scientists are still investigating the ADN to ascertain which is the authentic Columbus body, the one in Santo Domingo or the other one in Sevilla.
I stayed two weeks in Santo Domingo. I was arranging my journey to Haiti by plane, because by land it was forbidden in the year 1983, and besides my passport was in the United Sates Embassy where I made an application to receive a visa.
Once I recovered my passport I was anxious to know some other parts of Dominican Republic.
I chose Puerto Plata, in the north.
I disregarded Samaná, suggested by my Dominican friends, because it is a popular resort for Dominican tourists. I am not very fond of beaches.
I just spent in Puerto Plata one day and visited the Fort of San Felipe.
The next day I headed down to Santiago de los Caballeros, which seemed to me much more interesting than touristy Puerto Plata, with its daily cruises stopping in its port, filled with American tourists.
I chose at random Santiago de los Caballeros. The name of Santiago evoked in me our patron in Spain. In fact I love to visit cities bearing that name; I “collect” them, like Santiago del Estero in Argentina, Santiago de Chile, Santiago de Querétaro in Mexico, Santiago de Compostela in Spain… and now Santiago de los Caballeros in Dominican Republic. I was happy. For me these are holy cities. But I am still missing Santiago de Cuba, where I plan to travel soon…
Santiago de los Caballeros represents the second by population in Dominican Republic. At times it has acted as capital of the Dominican Republic.
Santiago de los Caballeros was founded by the Spaniards at the turn of the XV century. It was given that name for the knights (probably 30, because in some texts they write the name of the town as Santiago de los 30 Caballeros) that stayed in that city for some time before embarking back to Spain, where they made a complain to the King for the bad treatment that they received from the brothers of Christopher Columbus in that city.
The visit to the city produced me more satisfaction for the exploit to have known another “Santiago” than for the city itself. I still find Santo Domingo much more interesting from a traveler point of view.
Back in Santo Domingo, soon I flew to Port au Prince, Haiti.
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