Museo de las Casas Reales

Museum in Santo Domingo

Image by Danita Delimont Getty Images

Built in the Renaissance style during the 16th century, this building was the longtime seat of Spanish authority for the Caribbean region, housing the governor’s office and the powerful Audiencia Real (Royal Court). It showcases colonial-period objects, including treasures recovered from sunken Spanish galleons. Rooms have been restored according to their original style, with Taíno artifacts and period furnishings displayed.

Several walls are covered with excellent maps of various voyages of European explorers and conquistadors. Also on exhibit is an impressive antique weaponry collection acquired by dictator-president Trujillo from a Mexican general (ironically, during a 1955 world peace event); you’ll see samurai swords, medieval armor, ivory-inlaid crossbows and even a pistol/sword combo. Admission includes an audioguide available in a number of languages, including English.