The Colonial City is the perfect starting point for visitors to discover Santo Domingo. Here, between Independence Park and the Ozama River, you will find the first city built in the New World by European settlers, including Columbus's brother, Bartholomeo, and his son, Diego Columbus.
The first street in the Americas is Calle de Las Damas, the site of numerous historic buildings including the Ozama Fortress, the oldest fortress in the Americas. There is also the house of Nicolas de Ovando, governor of Santo Domingo in the early 1500's and a ruthless warrior against the Taino Indians.
Of great historical interest is the Museo de las Casas Reales (Museum of the Royal Houses), the restored 16th century palace of the Spanish Court, which features a wonderful glimpse of the past. Nearby is the Alcazar de Colon (Castle of Columbus) built by Diego Columbus and his wife Maria de Toledo, niece of the Spanish King Ferdinand.
A few streets over in the center of the walled city, visitors will find the Cathedral Basilica Santa Maria la Menor, pronounced the first cathedral in the New World by Pope Paul III in 1542. While touring the colonial city, visitors can learn all about amber, the stone made even more famous by Steven Spielberg's Jurassic Park film. The Amber Museum on Calle Arz. Merino features exceptional educational exhibits of this semi-precious jewel.