Ozama Fortress of Santo Domingo

Ozama Fortress of Santo Domingo
Ozama Fortress of Santo Domingo

The capital of the Dominican Republic treasures an architectural ensemble of enormous value in its historic core, so much so that since 1990 it has been listed as Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO. It is what is known as Colonial Zone, and different buildings are integrated into it. Among them is the so-called Fortaleza Ozama, located next to the river of the same name that irrigates the Dominican capital.


Ozama Fortress of Santo Domingo

The construction dates of this castle were between 1502 and 1508, dates that make it the oldest fortress built by Europeans in the American continent. For that reason, the forms of this castle are almost entirely European, being a stone work with a medieval air, similar to those that could be found in places on the Old Continent. And it is that in such early dates what prevailed was the defensive interest and the forms of local architecture, in this case the Taíno culture, so hardly had they influenced the creation of the peculiarcolonial architecture.

But not only the dates are known, but it is also known who was the governor who promoted the work, Nicolás de Ovando, who would order the work from the master builderGómez García de la Varela.

Note that Christopher Columbus reached the Dominican Republic inthe same year 1492 of the Discovery. And a year later Santo Domingo would be founded, although it was originally called Nueva Isabela, in honor of the Spanish queen Isabel la Católica. From that moment this city would soon begin to be coveted by all the sailors who passed through the Antilles. It doesn't matter if they were English, French, Portuguese or pirate ships. Everyone wanted to get this ideal enclave in the Caribbean. For that reason this fortress was built.

In principle, the fortress would be little more than its great tower, but later other rooms were incorporated, such as the Portal of Carlos III, the Polvorín, different platforms and the Fort of Santiago. Without forgetting that this stone construction also houses various tunnels, which became true dungeons. By the way, even Christopher Columbus was once locked up here.

And almost everything in Santo Domingo is related to this surname. Either with the discoverer or with his sonDiego Colón. For example, in the same Colonial Zone that is a World Heritage Site, the old main square that would be the center of power of the colony and where the great Cathedral Basilica of Santo Domingo, It is currently called Parque de Colón. Or another of the outstanding monuments of this whole monumental complex is the Viceroyal Palace, where they lived up to three generations after the discoverer.

By the way at that time, a major fort would be built in SantoDomingo, the Baluarte del Conde, which would inherit part of the defensive functions of the original Fortaleza Ozama.

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