Museo Alcázar de Colón (Plaza de la Hispanidad, tel. 809/682-4750, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Tues.–Sat., 9 a.m.–4 p.m. Sun., RD$50) was a house that was originally used by Diego Columbus, Christopher’s son, and his wife, María de Toledo. When they left the house in the early 1500s, they left it to friends who took good care of it for nearly 100 years. After that, it became a prison and a warehouse even until it was abandoned and actually became the city dump at one point.
It is unbelievable when you walk through it today that at one point only a couple of walls were left standing. The restoration took three turns from 1957 to 1992, and the building that stands today is a successful attempt at historical accuracy.
This Isabelline-style, architectural restoration effort is a valiant one. The museum is decorated with the furniture, carpets, tapestries, ceramic pieces, Spanish manuscripts, musical instruments, beautiful Spanish-style woodwork (doors, beamed ceilings, desks, and gargoyles), and paintings that the Diego Columbus family home would have had in the time they lived in it.
These are most likely 16th-century reproductions and not actual pieces that they owned like the guides of the museum tout. Nevertheless, this is a fine and important museum that represents a piece of Santo Domingo ’s history.