Built in the Renaissance style during the 16th century, this building was the longtime seat of Spanish authority for the entire Caribbean region, housing the governor’s office and the powerful Audiencia Real (Royal Court), among others. It showcases colonial-period objects, including many treasures recovered from Spanish galleons that foundered in nearby waters. Each room has been restored according to its original style, and displays range from Taíno artifacts to dozens of hand-blown wine bottles and period furnishings.
Several walls are covered with excellent maps of various voyages of European explorers and conquistadors. Also on display 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 audio guide available in a number of languages including English.