Faro a Colon, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

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Faro a Colón

Santo Domingo

Resembling a cross between a Soviet-era apartment block and a Las Vegas–style ancient Mayan ruin, this massive monument is worth visiting for its controversial history. Located on the east side of the Río Ozama, the Faro’s cement flanks stand 10 stories high, forming the shape of a cross. At the intersection of the cross’ arms is a tomb, guarded by white-uniformed soldiers and purportedly containing Columbus’ remains. Spain and Italy dispute that, however, both saying they have the Admiral’s bones.

Inside the monument a long series of exhibition halls display documents (mostly reproductions) related to Columbus’ voyages and the exploration and conquest of the Americas. The most interesting (though deeply ironic) displays are those sent by numerous Latin American countries containing photos and artifacts from their respective indigenous communities.

High-power lights on the roof can project a blinding white cross in the sky, but are only turned on once a year because doing so can cause blackouts in surrounding neighborhoods.

A taxi from Zona Colonial (you get a good view of the top half of the monument from the eastern end of Calle Padre Billini) should run around RD180.

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