Monasterio de San Francisco

Santo Domingo

The first monastery in the New World belonged to the first order of Franciscan friars who arrived to evangelize the island. Dating from 1508, the monastery originally consisted of three connecting chapels. It was set ablaze by Drake in 1586, rebuilt, devastated by an earthquake in 1673, rebuilt, ruined by another earthquake in 1751 and rebuilt again. Later it served as a mental asylum until a hurricane shut it down; today the dramatic ruins host wild dance nights every Sunday.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Santo Domingo attractions

1. Amber World Museum

0.05 MILES

This museum features an impressive collection of amber samples from around the world and excellent exhibits explaining (in Spanish and English) amber's…

2. Museo del Duarte

0.09 MILES

The 1813 birthplace of Juan Pablo Duarte was converted into a modest museum and renovated in late 2016. Three rooms display documents, artifacts and…

3. Casa del Cordón


Said to be not only one of the first European residences in the Americas, but also one of the first residences in the Western hemisphere with two floors,…

4. Museo del Ron y la Caña

0.11 MILES

Housed in a restored 16th-century building, exhibits here celebrate rum and sugarcane, two of the country’s most important exports. Displays and…

5. Plaza España

0.16 MILES

The large open area in front of the Alcázar de Colón has been revamped many times, most recently during the 1990s in honor of the 500th anniversary of…

7. Iglesia de Santa Bárbara

0.18 MILES

This baroque church was built in 1574 to honor the patron saint of the military. After being done over by Drake, however, the church was rebuilt with…

8. Museo de las Casas Reales

0.18 MILES

Built in the Renaissance style during the 16th century, this building was the longtime seat of Spanish authority for the Caribbean region, housing the…