History of San Francisco Monastery in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Shortly after Nicolás de Ovando became governor in 1502, he invited the Franciscans to his new city. They built the first San Francisco Monastery with wood in 1508. Starting in 1523, the friars spent about 140 years constructing it with stone. The vast, two block property – designed by Rodrigo de Liendo – included a convent, church and chapel. This archway was the entrance to the church, finished in 1556. Monasterio de San Francisco was assaulted many times. Sir Francis Drake ransacked it in 1586. The monastery suffered earthquake damage in 1673 and again in 1751. Several hurricanes pummeled the building. In 1808, portions collapsed during the Battle of Palo Hincado between the Spanish and the French. Further destruction occurred at the hands of the Haitians a few decades later. The final straw was in 1930 during the category 4 Hurricane San Zenon. The monastery is now in ruins.

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Calle Hostos & Calle Emiliano Tejera, Santo Domingo 10212, Dominican Republic

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