Zona Colonial - Old Town, Santo Domingo
Puerta de la Misericordia is usually not on the standard tourist retinue because it is a bit out of the way, but it still an interesting part of the city's history. The western-most gate in the city's defences, it stands beside the ruins of the San Gil Fort. The Puerta gets its name from the fact that, after a massive earthquake in 1842, a group of priests erected a tent city to care for the victims of the natural disaster under the gate. Two years later, in 1844, Mella (who led the revolt against Haitian rule) fired the first shots of the rebellion and incited insurrection from this very gate - although he eventual raised the Dominican flag over the Puerta del Conde. Its just near the Malecón (Hincado and Arzobisbo Portes is the nearest intersection) so its an easy first stop if you're coming to the Zona Colonial from Gazcue along the Malecón.
The theater started as a home for independent theater but grew up to be the "home" of painting/photography exhibitions, courses within theater, photography, dance, etc, small concerts, poet reunions, movie shows, and some contests: painting, story telling, photography, theater, music, etc. The movies they show aren't what one would call "commercial" and they usually organize cycles where all movies belong to a specific theme, like comedy cycle. These shows are every Tuesday at 8pm and cost 30DOP per person.
Casa de Teatro is located in an old house at Zona Colonial and has a 2-floor café bar and a patio. They combine the charm of the past with what today has to offer as well as promises of future talent.
Address: Calle Arzobispo Meriño 110, Zona Colonial. Around 2 blocks from the Cathedral.
The house of Rodrigo de Bastidas, one of the first 'conquistadores', is a building you can visit on the tour of the Colonial Zone. Today the house is a modern art gallery. I've been fascinated by the beautiful garden inside.
A few people know that the French embassy at the main historical square was actually Hernan Cortes' house. Hernan Cortes was one of the Spanish conquerors, responsible of the Spanish expansion among America. He was also responsible for the most cruel killings in several countries, including Dominican Republic and Mexico.