"The Dominican Order in Central..." Cathedrals & Cloisters Tip by la_beba


Favorite thing: The Dominican Order in Central America can be traced back to 1538 in Ciudad Vieja where the Dominican missionaries lived in a humble convent. One of its founders, Fray Bartolome de Las Casas, is known in Guatemala?s history as the 'protector of the Indians'. When the capital was moved to Antigua and land was assigned to the Catholic orders, Santo Domingo received the most and became in time one the largest and wealthiest monasteries in the city. Santo Domingo was totally destroyed in 1773 so almost everything we known about it come from what historians wrote at the time. Its rubble was uses as build material throughout the XIX century.
The church had two towers with ten bells. The first public clock of the city was installed in one if them. Both church and monastery were filled with artistic treasures and its huge octagonal fountain was famous. It even had an artificial lake for fishing and boating. Is association with the Dominicans, but mainly through the efforts of Bishop Marroquin, a school was founded in Santo Domingo, called Colegio Santo Tomas de Aquino, predecessor of the University of San Carlos. Many important personalities attended this school. In 1676, when the foundation of the University was finally authorized by royal decree, Santo Domingo was elected as its seat, where it remained until 1763 when it moved to its new building.
In colonial days, the neighborhood around Santo Domingo was very lively, noisy and busy with commerce. Today a beautiful hotel has been skillfully incorporated into the ruins of the monastery, bringing back some of the past charm to this old section of Antigua.... and it is absolutely gorgeous!!!!! What little remains of the ruins of Santo Domingo is presently being uncovered. This is a picture right at the entrance.

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  • Written Oct 4, 2002
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