Welcome to San Cristobal
During his authoritative and brutal rule, which lasted from 1930 until his assassination in 1961, Rafael Trujillo showered his hometown with generosity and monuments to his excess, including a never-lived-in mansion and a US$4-million church, a paragon of Latin American Caudillo high kitsch. The city’s name was officially changed in 1934 to ‘Meritorious City.’ (It was changed back after Trujillo died.) An appropriate symbol and reminder of Trujillo’s regime is the empty pedestal across from the church – it used to support a statue of the commandante on horseback that was pulled down by enraged Dominicans after Trujillo’s death.
Today, most visitors heading west from the capital pass through this traffic-clogged provincial capital just 30km from Santo Domingo.