Situated in the country’s central region Santiago – the country’s second largest city – is also known as the Cigar Capital of the World. The bustling city boasts a number of attractions that make it a worthwhile destination for visitors.
Must-visit sites: the Centro Cultural Eduardo Leon Jimenes, one of the Caribbean’s most important cultural center/museum, as well as the following attractions:
San Luis Museum/Fortress
A tour of the city would be incomplete without visiting the iconic Fortress of San Luis, which opened as a museum in 2004. The museum is found in the fortress’ north wing and features a collection of paintings that tell the story of the island before the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors.
Also on exhibit are important archaeological pieces, dating back to the Tainos, the island’s original inhabitants. Also featured are some of the weapons used by Dominican soldiers during the war of liberation from Spain.
The city’s Cathedral was destroyed by an earthquake in 1842. Construction of the current Cathedral began in 1895. The Cathedral features one of the only two original copies of Michelangelo’s Pietá’s.
Leon Museum and Cultural Center
The Eduardo Leon Jimenes Cultural Center is considered to be one of the Caribbean’s most important cultural complexes. This private institution features temporary and permanent exhibitions, and offers year-round cultural activities.
The Monument of Santiago
The Monument to the Heroes of the Restoration, considered the city’s most iconic symbol, features one of the most original architectural designs in the Caribbean.
The 67-meter tall monument features five floors of priceless statues and murals produced by some of the country’s top artists. All paintings honor the movements and battles carried out by Dominicans during the 19th century to establish an independent nation.
The battles carried out by Dominican patriots during 1863-1865 against the Spanish Crown are known locally as “The Restoration,” thus the name of the monument.
The monument is situated on a small hill in the very heart of Santiago, near some of the town’s most important hotels, bars and restaurants.
The monument was built in 1953, during the Trujillo dictatorship, to celebrate the centennial of Dominican Independence.