Plaza de la Cultura
- Where to Go
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- A Nature Lover’s Dominican Trek
- The Sexiest Dominican Beaches
- Historical Dominican Road Trip
- A Dominican Culture Tour
- Carnaval and Its Masks
- Planning Your Dominican Wedding
- Dominican Adventures
- Golfing the Dominican Republic
- Dominican Music and Dance
- La Ruta del Mango
- Day-Tripping in Monte Plata
- The Best Small Resorts
At the Plaza de la Cultura (Calle Pedro Henríquez Ureña) there are four museums, the national theater, and the national library.
Museo del Hombre Dominicano
Museo del Hombre Dominicano (Museum of the Dominican Man, tel. 809/687-3622, www.museodelhombredominicano.org.do, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Tues.–Sun., RD$50) has an extensive and impressive collection ranging from Taíno artifacts (including tools, pottery, and other items from their daily lives) to items from the Spanish era and Dominican life today.
Most of the Taíno artifacts can be found on the third floor. Spearheads, stone depictions of gods, pots, ceremonial pieces, and remnants of tools are all displayed in well-lit cases. The fourth floor is concerned with post-Columbus Dominican items.
There is a section devoted to the Carnaval traditions as they relate to each region in the Dominican Republic, one for the African influence on Dominican culture, an exhibit on the effects slavery had on the history of the island, and an example of a typical rural Dominican home.
Unfortunately, signage is all in Spanish. Make sure to ask for the English-speaking guides available at the front desk; you will pay an additional RD$50. Staff won’t offer this service up freely, so be sure to request it. Many things are unmarked, so a guide would be very helpful. Tips are appreciated. There is a small café on the fourth floor, a gift shop on the first floor, and elevators make this an accessible museum.
Museo de Arte Moderno
The four-level Museo de Arte Moderno (tel. 809/685-2154, 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Tues.–Sun., RD$20), right next to the Museum of the Dominican Man, is an exciting step into the modern world after all that history. Modernist and postmodern paintings, installations, and sculptures by well-known and emerging Dominican artists are on display in a wonderful setting.
As you enter, you’re on the second level, so don’t miss out on the bottom floor. Some of the well-known artists to look out for are: José Vela Zanetti, Adriana Billini, Cándido Bidó, and Celeste Woss y Gil. Save a good amount of time to wander and ponder.
Museo Nacional de Historia y Geografía
The Museo Nacional de Historia y Geografía (tel. 809/686-6668, 9:30 a.m.–4 p.m. Tues.–Sun., RD$20) is conveniently organized in chronological order according to time periods and includes exhibits on Haitian/Dominican relations as well as the Trujillo years, with many of his personal effects, including one of the bullet-ridden cars that was involved in the shootout when he was assassinated (it is a little creepy). This is not the best of the museums in the bunch, but it’s worth a stop if you’re in the area. The American Occupation exhibition contains photos and items from American soldiers from those days.
Museo de Historia Natural
The less striking Museo de Historia Natural (tel. 809/689-0106, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Tues.–Sun., RD$50) has exhibits on the flora and fauna of the island and a collection of skeletons.
The Teatro Nacional (tel. 809/687-3191) is a venue for the national opera, ballet, and symphony. The venue has good acoustics and comfortable seating, and attracts an array of fantastic performers.
The Biblioteca Nacional (National Library, tel. 809/688-4086, 8 a.m.–10 p.m. Mon.–Fri., Sat. and Sun. 8 a.m.–4 p.m.), although maybe not much of a vacation destination, might have some interest to those researching the culture of the Dominican Republic. The library also has a children’s section.
© Ana Chavier Caamaño from Moon Dominican Republic, 4th edition