Catedral Primada de América - The Cathedral, Santo Domingo

4.5 out of 5 stars 11 Reviews

Zona Colonial

Been here? Rate It!

hide
  • cathedral with monument in front
    cathedral with monument in front
    by hulahula46
  • The Cathedral
    The Cathedral
    by marielexoteria
  • Side entrance to the Cathedral
    Side entrance to the Cathedral
    by mikey_e
  • Jim_Eliason's Profile Photo

    the Basilica Catedral Santa Maria

    by Jim_Eliason Updated Feb 8, 2014

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Built between 1521 and 1540, this was intended by the Vatican to be the religous center of the West Indies. The church structure is a mixture of Gothic and Romanesque styles. This was the first cathedral built in the Americas.

    the Basilica Catedral Santa Maria the Basilica Catedral Santa Maria the Basilica Catedral Santa Maria the Basilica Catedral Santa Maria the Basilica Catedral Santa Maria
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Religious Travel
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • ValbyDK's Profile Photo

    Catedral Santa María de la Encarnación

    by ValbyDK Updated Feb 15, 2008

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The cathedral is the oldest church in the West Indies. The construction began around 1521, but was not finished before 1540 – maybe because the Spanish searched for gold outside Santo Domingo.

    It is an impressive building, built in Gothic, Baroque, and Renaissance styles, with a mahogany altar, detailed friezes and sculptures, and stained-glass windows. There are 14 separate chapels inside the cathedral.

    Some guidebooks say that shorts are not allowed, but I had no trouble entering the cathedral with shorts.

    The cathedral is located in Zona Colonial next to Parque Colón.

    The cathedral Inside the cathedral
    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Religious Travel
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • marielexoteria's Profile Photo

    Old Town: Catedral Primada de América

    by marielexoteria Updated Oct 30, 2007

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Built between 1514 and 1541, its name is Catedral Santa María la Menor and it's the first cathedral of the New World. It has 14 chapels inside, sculptures and paintings. In a Gothic and Roman style, here is where the Cardinal gives the service.

    Rumor has it there's a grenade without the safe on the roof from the days when the Americans occupied the country and that it hasn't exploded.

    Practical info: open daily 8am-5pm, free entrance. Dress appropriately.

    The Cathedral
    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Religious Travel
    • Budget Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • mikey_e's Profile Photo

    Catedral Santa María de la Encarnación

    by mikey_e Written Sep 9, 2007

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Santo Domingo has many of the Western hemisphere's oldest Spanish buildings, so it should not be surprising that the Cathedral in the centre of the Dominican capital would be quite a spectacular example of Spanish colonial architecture. The church was constructed between 1521 and 1540 and was intended to be the base of all conversion activities for the Catholic faith in the New World. The outside of the Cathedral is primarily Romanesque and Plateresque with some Gothic features on the north side (which faces the Parque de Colón). The western side (the side entrance) has allegorical freizes that portray the arrival of the colonists to Hispaniola. The Hapsburg seals (unfortunately I could only display 5 pictures here, but I have a photo of them) are mere reproductions - the originals having been stolen by Sir Francis Drake. Inside the Cathedral you will find some interesting mahogany pews and a marble altar, as well as a number of chapels, many of which contain paintings and relics imported from Spain during the 16th century. Below you can see a photo of the painting of the Madonna (in the Chapel of the Virgin of Antigua) which was spirit off to Spain in 1520 and finally returned to the Dominican people in 1892 when it was in a near-unrecognizable state. Columbus was supposedly enterred for a bit in the Chapel of the Virgin of the Light.

    A small note, this is a much more conservative atmosphere than in many churches in Spain, so NO ONE may enter in shorts or tank tops. More than that, women may not be allowed in if they are in pants. Luckily, one of the gift shops nearby (I'm not sure which, as my sister was already wearing a skirt when we visited) will rent skirts for RD$50.

    Side entrance to the Cathedral Gargoyles in disuse Inside the Cathedral Painting of the Virgin and Child Joanna at the side entrance
    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Historical Travel
    • Arts and Culture

    Was this review helpful?

  • el_ruso's Profile Photo

    Cathedral

    by el_ruso Updated Jul 12, 2007

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Basilica Catedral Santa Maria de la Encarnacion was the first cathedral in the Americas, and was completed in 1540. It's built in the Gothic style. It was severely damaged during the attack by the British pirate Drake (who used it as barracks), and has never recovered its former glory.

    In front, there is a statue of Colon and a Taino (native) woman, although I did not quite understand what that woman is trying to do. The plaza is very loverly, and serves as the main plaza of Santo Domingo.

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Arts and Culture

    Was this review helpful?

  • grandmaR's Profile Photo

    Cathedral Basilica Santa Maria la Menor

    by grandmaR Updated Jul 18, 2006

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Our RCI guide Gloria handed us over to a guide to look at the Cathedral Basilica Santa Maria la Menor, which Pope Paul III pronounced to be the first cathedral in the New World in 1542. I take that to mean that it was the first building designated as a Cathedral and not the first church building. I was interested to see that there was netting over the top of the entrances, probably to keep out the pigeons. She sat outside and gossiped while we did the tour.

    Bob was wearing Bermuda shorts - down to his knees - and no one said anything about this, although I understand that shorts are not allowed.

    The guide said that the inside was Gothic and with Romanesque arches and Baroque ornamentation. He said that the inside vaulting represented palm trees (they did look a little bit like that). In the middle of his talk, they added another family - apparently the guides are assigned by language. That threw him off a little so he finished us up and started on the next group. We slipped away and walked around the cathedral a bit looking at some of the 14 side chapels. I took a picture of a pigeon that sitting over the pulpit (apparently bypassed the netting) and a statue of a priest with a box with a slot in the top marked Seminario - I presume for people to donate money.

    Palm Tree-like arches inside the church Scooter parked alongside the wall Pigeon over the pulpit Box for donations? Front of the Cathedral
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Museum Visits
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • skatzcatz's Profile Photo

    Catedral Santa Maria de la Encarnacion

    by skatzcatz Updated Jun 13, 2004

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    adjoining the park at the end of El Conde is the Catedral Santa Maria de la Encarnacion church. Walk amongst its grounds and take in the architecture of the 16th century. stain glassed windows and stonework is work looking at also.

    I've also since read there is a dress code in place; no shorts or short skirts and no pants for females.

    Catedral Santa Maria de la Encarnacion
    Related to:
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • Travelchili's Profile Photo

    Catedral Primada de America

    by Travelchili Written Dec 13, 2003

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This cathedral, constructed from 1514 to 1546, is the first in the New World, and thus, is also one of the most important monument in Santo Domingo. Its complete translated name is the Holy Metropolitan Cathedral Basilica of our Lady Holy Mary of the Incarnation. Its mostly late-Gothic architecture also includes Romanesque characteristics. The main façade was built out of coral rock. The chapels were built later than the main temple, and until 1992 one chapel housed the remains of Christopher Columbus, which are now in the Columbus Lighthouse. In order to get in, you must be appropriately dressed.

    Catedral Primada de America
    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Budget Travel
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • Patricialuv's Profile Photo

    This is the first church built...

    by Patricialuv Updated Apr 12, 2003

    0.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This is the first church built in the New World. It is approx. 500 years old and its called La Primada de America. It's still in great condition and preserved very well. It is free to get in, but make sure you are dressed appropriately. No shorts allowed.

    Was this review helpful?

  • Joan58's Profile Photo

    Catedral Primada de America

    by Joan58 Updated Feb 4, 2003

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Catedral de Santa Maria la Menor, called also Catedral Primada de America, was built in 1521, but in 1502 Diego Columbus had already put the first stone. On its right the facade has a double decorated portal. The cathedral is made of golden coral and is a unique blend of styles with Romanesque arches and Gothc vaults.
    Open daily 9am-4pm.

    Catedral Primada de America

    Was this review helpful?

  • alfredop's Profile Photo

    First Cathedran in America

    by alfredop Written Feb 10, 2003

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The first cathedral in America is located in the heart of downton Santo Domingo. Quite simple but nice.

    First Cathedral in America First Cathedral in America First Cathedral in America

    Was this review helpful?

Instant Answers: Santo Domingo

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

28 travelers online now

Comments

View all Santo Domingo hotels