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Museum of the Royal Houses

Once the Spanish administrative center of the Caribbean, this building now houses a museum dedicated to the colonial history of the region.

Museum of the Royal Houses, or Museo de las Casas Reales, provides a window into the past when this building served as the administrative offices of the Caribbean colonies. Wander through the old-style rooms examining eclectic displays, which feature Spanish and indigenous Taíno artifacts and trace the history of the colonial era.

The building in which the museum is housed dates back to the 16th century. It was once home to the administrative offices of the Spanish colonies, including the Royal Court, the Treasury and the Governor’s Office. The rooms have been restored to appear much as they would have done when they were used by the colonial powers.

Before going inside, take note of the building’s exterior design. It was constructed in the Renaissance style and is a typical example of Spanish colonial architecture. Enter the museum to find out more about the history of Santo Domingo. Among the items on show are Taíno objects, ceramics and treasures recovered from sunken ships that met their fate off the island’s coast. Combined with the informative displays, these items provide insight into both the Taíno inhabitants and the military history and day-to-day life of the Spanish colonies.

Check out the large collection of far-flung weaponry on show, which includes samurai swords and medieval armor. This assortment once belonged to the Dominican dictator Trujillo, who sourced them from a Mexican general. Don’t overlook the period-style décor of the rooms, which shows how they would have looked during colonial times.

Enjoy a moment’s rest in the interior courtyard of the museum. Its peaceful and tranquil atmosphere makes it a good spot for a quiet break.

The Museum of the Royal Houses is open from Tuesday through Sunday. The entrance fee includes an audio guide, which can provide information in several languages, including English. The museum is located in the Zona Colonial district, not far from the banks of the Ozama River. Walk or use local buses to get here.


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