After Diego Colón, the son of Christopher Columbus, became governor of the Indies in 1509, he had a palace built for him in Santo Domingo. It was the first viceregal residence in the Americas.
Built of coral limestone by a team of 1,500 indigenous people, the Alcázar de Colón once boasted more than 50 rooms, along with gardens and courtyards. Here, within the lavish mansion, Spanish conquistadors met and planned expeditions.
Diego and his wife left the place behind when they were recalled to Spain, but relatives kept the building occupied and filled with luxuries. In 1586, the pirate Francis Drake sacked the place.
But over time, the once-fancy residence was left to deteriorate. By the mid-1700s, it had been abandoned and was later used as a dumping ground. In the 1870s, though, it was made a national monument, and in the 20th century underwent restoration.
Today, though only about half of the original rooms have been restored, the place is a popular museum. It’s part of the Ciudad Colonial, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Know Before You Go
It's open Tuesday through Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. On Sunday, it's open from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Tickets cost $100 RD.