Colonial City Walking
Tour Part 4
Earthquakes have taken their toll on some buildings.
15. Convento de la Orden de los Predicadores: Built in 1510 and the New World 's oldest still-standing church, the chapel vault is notable for its astrological and mythological depictions carved in stone. This is the first convent of the Dominican order in the Americas and where the chronicler of the Spanish atrocities against the Tainos, Father Bartolome de las Casas, penned his accounts.
16. Capilla de la Tercera Orden Dominica: Built in 1529, the Chapel of the Third Dominican Order is the only building to survive the centuries intact. Today it is a church office.
17.Iglesia de Nuestra Senora del Carmen: Built during the mid-1500s, the church initially was constructed of stone, then of brick. Drake set it on fire in 1586. After being rebuilt, it served as a hospital, a church, a jail and an inn. Today the church is known for the mahogany figure of Jesus that is venerated every Wednesday during Holy Week.
18. Ruinas del Hospital San Nicolas de Bari : Until much of it was knocked down as part of a 1911 public works project, the New World 's first hospital survived everything man and nature had thrown at it. It was ordered built in 1503 by Gov. Ovando, with the floor plan in the shape of a cross.
This building and the Franciscan Monastery are the 2 major monuments the Commission of Monuments has decided to maintain in stable condition as ruins. The ruins are constantly monitored and minor repairs made to maintain them.
19.Casa de Corden: The Cord House is first Spanish-style residence in the Americas. Built by Francisco de Garay, the gate is trimmed with a cord similar to that of the San Franciscan monks.
20. Monasterio de San Francisco : Built on a hilltop overlooking the city in 1508, this first monastery in the Americas initially had three connecting chapels. Like many other buildings, it was set afire by Drake in 1586. It was rebuilt and destroyed by earthquakes in 1673 and 1751.
From 1881 until the 1930s it served as an insane asylum. A hurricane demolished much of the building, which is now open to the sky. Some of the chains once used to restrain asylum inmates still remain. The site occasionally is used to stage artistic performances.