Monasterio de San Francisco, Santo Domingo

#8 of 36 in Historic Sites in Santo Domingo
Ruin · Tourist Spot
Travel back to the early years of colonialism at Monasterio de San Francisco, the ruins of the New World's first monastery. Set up by Franciscans, the complex dates from 1508. Its tempestuous history includes being set ablaze by Elizabethan explorer Sir Francis Drake in 1586, followed by destruction and reconstruction after consecutive earthquakes in 1673 and 1751. Originally consisting of three connected chapels, the monastery last served as a mental asylum from the late 18th century to the 1930s, when a hurricane dealt it a fatal blow. (Look for the chains used to shackle patients, still scattered around.) Check tourist information centers for a schedule of events, as the ruins host open-air concerts on occasion. For travelers who use our custom trip planner, Santo Domingo holidays become easier to arrange, with trips to the Monasterio de San Francisco and other attractions mapped out and timetabled.
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  • The San Franasisco monastery is one of the highlights of the colonial zone. It is located a short walk west of the Plaza de España on Calle Hostos. I hoped to access the ruins from the main gate, but....  more »
  • Not only being in the first Franciscan Monastery of the Americas, imaging how big it was based on its ruins, but also experiencing Bonyé's Caribbean music and people dancing and enjoying. A magic...  more »

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