Santo Domingo - the country's capital

Santo Domingo de Guzmán is the capital of the Dominican Republic and the largest metropolis in the country. Santo Domingo and Havana, the capital of Cuba, are about the same size and represent the two largest cities of the West Indian Islands in the Caribbean. The town lies on the southern coast of the Caribbean island of Hispaniola, where the River Ozama enters into the ocean - here is situated the main port of the Republic (La Haina).

Santo Domingo was colonized by Europeans since 1496. Officially it was founded in 1498 by Christopher Columbus' brother Bartolomeo and it was situated at the mouth of the River Ozama. Santo Domingo is the oldest city established by Europeans in the New World. It was first called La Nueva Isabela. Due to hurricanes and a plague of ants in 1502 then governor of the island, Nicolás de Ovando, founded the city newly on the west bank of the River Ozama and the capital received its present name. The newly founded city was given the shape of an ideal city as recommended by the town planners of the Renaissance.

The new town with its right angled streets and the central square (Plaza de Armas or Plaza Mayor) became a basic model for all later newly founded cities in Latin America. The Cathedral "Basilica Menor de la Virgen de La Anunciación" is the oldest cathedral in the Americas (cornerstone 1521, opened 1540). 1546 Pope Paul III. made the Cathedral the first archiepiscopal cathedral of the New World. At first the bones of Christopher Columbus were buried in the Cathedral, when in 1992 - the 500-year anniversary of the discovery of America - the his bones were moved to the new "Faro a Colón". The cathedral is considered to be incomplete, since the originally planned bell towers were not built. 1538 the oldest university in America was founded. During the Trujillo dictatorship from 1936 to 1961 Santo Domingo was named "Ciudad Trujillo".

The international airport of Las Americas is located in the vicinity of Santo Domingo. Since January 2009 Santo Domingo owns his first Metro - Line 1 of Santo Domingo serving 16 metro stations on its about 14,5 kilometers long rail network.

In 1990 the historic Old City (Spanish Ciudad Colonial) on the western bank of the River Ozama was declared World Heritage of Humanity by the UNESCO.

La Romana with its approximately 190.000 inhabitants (2008) is considered to be the fourth largest city in the Dominican Republic and one of the largest cities in the Caribbean. The capital of the province of La Romana is located on the south coast opposite the island of Catalina (Isla Catalina). La Romana is located on a small slope and there is a big part of industry, including a the countries biggest sugar refinery. Near the town is the private settlement of "Casa de Campo", where many celebrities own a villa. Part of this settlement is the artists' village of "Altos de Chavón", where Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley got married.

The city was founded in 1897 when a Cuban company was supposed to build a refinery. Initially the city was of hardly any significance. Its regional value changed after 1917, when a large mill was built for the milling of sugar cane. The sugar cane originaltes from the vast sugar cane plantations all over the country. Besides tourism sugar production became a very important source of revenue for the city of La Romana. Due to the rising prices of sugar on the world marlet and the biggest sugar mill in the country more and more workers were needed, so that many families moved to La Romana. In the early 60s the Gulf & Western Industries Inc. bought the sugar mill and started to invest millions of US$ in the livestock and cement industry, built schools, clinics and houses for their workers. In the mid-70s the company started simultaneously to invest in one of the most elite tourist complexes in the Dominican Republic, Casa de Campo. Today, La Romana is an important starting point for many cruise ships heading from La Romana to the northern or southern caribbean islands, such as St. Maarten, Guadeloupe, Dominica, Martinique and St. Lucia, Barbados, Antigua and Grenada. [La Romana] La Romana International Airort [LRM]

Punta Cana

received its name from the tip of the island, where are naturally growing many Cana-palms. Punta Cana is certainly one of the best known regions of the country where every year thousands of visitors from all countries of the world spend their vacation in one of the many all-inclusive hotels. Punta Cana is a region in the province of "La Altragacia", located in the southeast of the country. Punta Cana has its own international airport (PUJ).

The southeast coast of the Dominican Republic is known for its beautiful beaches and the traditional Caribbean turquoise blue sea. A naturally grown large coral reef serves as natural protection to the coast. Due to the picturesque atmosphere the almost 50 km long "Playa Bavaro", which also includes the "Playa de Arena Gorda", is one of the countries top attractions for tourists from around the world.