Geography

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The Ozama river flows 148 kilometres (92 miles) before emptying into the Caribbean Sea. Santo Domingo's position on its banks was of great importance to the city's economic development and the growth of trade during colonial times. The Ozama River is where the country's busiest port is located.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Architecture

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Many of Santo Domingo's most notable landmarks are located within the Zona Colonial district of the city, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1990. The Colonial Zone, bordered by the Río Ozama, also has an impressive collection of early 16th century buildings, including palatial houses and majestic churches that reflect the architectural style of the late Middle Ages.

The city's most important historical buildings include the Catedral Santa María La Menor, called La Catedral Primada de América, America's First Cathedral, which states its distinction; the Alcázar de Colón, America's first castle, once the residence of Viceroy of the Indies Don Diego Colón, a son of Christopher Columbus; the Monasterio de San Francisco, the ruins of the first monastery in the Americas; the Museo de las Casas Reales, in a monumental complex that includes the former Palace of the Governors and the building of the former Royal Audiencia of Santo Domingo; the Fortaleza Ozama, the oldest fortress in the Americas; the Pantéon Nacional, a former Jesuit edifice now hosting the remains of various renowned Dominicans; and the Dominican Convent, the first convent in the Americas.

On the north end of Calle Las Damas, the restored and expanded Plaza de España is bordered by Las Atarazanas (former naval yard, now a museum) and a number of small shops and restaurants. This area was the first European commercial center in the Americas, and is still a hub of activity today. The Alcázar de Colón, having once been the colonial palace of the Columbus family—beginning with his son Diego — is now a museum displaying period furniture and decorations. The building was originally built in 1510, and restored to its current appearance in 1952.

A 700 million US dollar investment was made in the Port of the Ozama river adjacent to the Ciudad Colonial aiming to turn Santo Domingo into a port of call for luxury cruise ships and including a privately owned marina. The project is being completed by Sans Soucí Ports S.A.

Economy

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The city is the center of economic activity in the Dominican Republic. It is where most of the country's wealth is concentrated and also where everything related to politics occurs. Many national and international firms have their headquarters or regional offices in Santo Domingo. The city attracts many international firms and franchises such as Ikea, Goldcorp and Barrick due to its geographic location and economic stability.

The infrastructure is suitable for most business operations. A key element that has helped the city grow and compete globally is the telecommunications infrastructure. The Dominican Republic has a modern telecommunications system due to its privatization and integration with the U.S. systems. This has attracted numerous call centers in recent years. Santo Domingo not only has an excellent telecommunications infrastructure but also a sizeable bilingual population that speaks English.

The city's economic growth has been very noticeable in recent years. The construction boom is reflected in luxury residential towers, shopping malls, elevated highways, the metro expansion and an increase in commercial activity.

Santo Domingo has a thriving middle class but it also has pockets of poverty located on the outskirts of the city. Areas of high income families are found in the central Polygon of the city, which is bordered by the Avenida John F. Kennedy northward February 27 Avenue south, Avenida Winston Churchill to the west and Avenida Máximo Gómez to the east, and is characterized by its mostly residential area and its very active nightlife .

Santo Domingo has areas of high development, among them Serralles, Naco, Arroyo Hondo, Piantini, Urb Fernandez, " Ens. Juliet, Paradise, The Prairies, Los Prados, Bella Vista, Sarasota and other sectors, which consist mostly of costly buildings and luxury houses, contrasting with the outskirts of the city as Gualey and Capotille which are significantly less economically developed .

Bella Vista and La Esperilla are currently the fastest growing sectors with large mega-projects. Gazcue belongs to the more traditional southeastern area of the city and is known for its buildings dating from the 1930s to the 1960s.

The city's shopping centers are located primarily on Avenida Winston Churchill, where there are places such as Acropolis Center, Blue Mall, and large supermarkets. It is also the home of the largest commercial banks, such as Banco Popular Dominicano, Scotiabank, Citibank, Banco BHD, Banco del Progreso, Banreservas, among others. February 27 Avenue is very commercially successful and is considered the most important avenue of the city. The oldest malls in the country are Plaza Central and Plaza Naco, the latter served as the first shopping center in the city. Bella Vista Mall is one of the newest malls built in the city, which attracts many high-income families. The city has an established securities market in the late 90s.

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