Hostal Nicolás de Ovando
A handsome building with a Gothic facade built in 1509, this was originally the residence of Governor Nicolás de Ovando, who is famous...
A more leisurely option is a horse-drawn carriage tour. Look for them pulled to the side of the road near the corner of Calle Las Damas...
Casa de Francia
This was originally the residence of Hernán Cortés, conqueror of the Aztecs in present-day central Mexico. It was in this building that...
Occupying separate spaces on either side of a cobblestoned alleyway, Segazona operates as an Italian-style cafe during the day and an...
Awash in bold primary colors like a Mondrian painting, this casual Mexican place with indoor and outdoor seating adds some spice to the...
Las Damas · interesting places nearby
Fortaleza Ozama information
This is the oldest colonial military edifice in the New World. The site of the fort – at the meeting of the Río Ozama and the Caribbean – was selected by Fray Nicolás de Ovando. Construction of the fortification began in 1502 under the direction of master builder Gómez García Varela and continued in various stages for the next two centuries. Over the course of its history the fort has flown the flag of Spain, England, France, Haiti, Gran Columbia, the US and the DR. Until the 1970s, when it was opened to the public, it served as a military garrison and prison.
Near the door you’ll find several guides (Spanish, English and French spoken, sometimes German and Italian). Be sure to agree on a fee in advance – around US$3.50 per person for a 20-minute tour.
As soon as you walk into the site, you’ll see the oldest of the buildings here: the impressive Torre del Homenaje (Tower of Homage). Its 2m-thick walls contain dozens of riflemen’s embrasures and its roof-top lookout offers 360-degree views of the city. To its right, solid and windowless, stands El Polvorín – the Powder House – which was added in the mid-1700s; look for the statue of St Barbara (the patron saint of the artillery) over the door.
Running along the fort's riverside wall are two rows of cannons: the first dates from 1570, the second was added in the mid-1600s. Both served as the first line of defense for the city’s port. The living quarters, now almost completely destroyed, were added along the city-side wall in the late 1700s. On the esplanade is a bronze statue of Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo, perhaps the best-known military chronicler of the New World.