Monasterio de San Francisco
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Sitting now in ruins is the Monasterio de San Francisco (Calle Hostos and Calle Emiliano Tejere), built in the early part of the 1500s for the first order of the Franciscan friars to come to the island. While it once was a glorious structure, originally with three connecting chapels, it underwent some disastrous events.
First it was looted and then torched by Sir Francis Drake when he seized the city in 1586. It was restored but suffered earthquakes in 1673 and 1751; both times it was rebuilt.
Its grisliest usage was when it served as an insane asylum from 1881 to the early 1930s (when a hurricane finally blew through). The chains used to hold the “patients” can still be seen. It was never restored.
Now performances are staged amid the dramatically well-lit rubble in one of the oldest neighborhoods in Santo Domingo.
© Ana Chavier Caamaño from Moon Dominican Republic, 4th edition