Convento de los Dominicos

Santo Domingo

Built in 1510 by Charles V, this is the first convent of the Dominican order founded in the Americas. It's also where Father Bartolomé de las Casas – the famous chronicler of Spanish atrocities committed against indigenous peoples – did most of his writing. The vault of the chapel, remarkable for its stone zodiac wheel carved with mythological and astrological representations, is worth a look. On the walls are various paintings of religious figures, including Pope St Pius V.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Santo Domingo attractions

1. Quinta Dominica

0.04 MILES

This small art gallery, in a renovated 16th-century home, features ever-changing exhibits of colonial and contemporary art. A shady courtyard at the back…

2. Capilla de la Tercera Orden Dominica

0.05 MILES

Built in 1729 and the only colonial structure in Santo Domingo that remains fully intact. These days the building is used by the office of the archbishop…

3. Museo Casa de Tostado

0.08 MILES

This museum is located in the Casa de Tostado – the beautifully restored, 16th-century home of writer Francisco Tostado. It's interesting as much for the…

4. Centro Cultural Español


A lively cultural space run by the Spanish embassy, this institute regularly hosts art exhibits, film festivals and musical concerts, all with a Spanish…

5. Iglesia de la Regina Angelorum

0.13 MILES

Paid for by a woman who donated her entire fortune to construct this monument for the cloistered Dominican Sisters, this church was built toward the end…

6. Catedral Primada de América

0.13 MILES

The first stone of this cathedral, the oldest standing in the Western hemisphere, was set in 1514 by Diego Columbus, son of the great explorer (the ashes…

7. Larimar Museum

0.14 MILES

Thorough exhibits on larimar – a rare, light-blue mineral found only in the remote southwestern mountains of the Dominican Republic – have signage in…

8. Iglesia de Santa Clara

0.14 MILES

Home to the first nunnery in the New World, built in 1552. Years after being sacked by Drake and his men (who apparently hated all things Catholic), it…