Santo Domingo officially Santo Domingo de Guzmán, is the capital and largest city in the Dominican Republic and the largest metropolitan area in the Caribbean by population. As of 2010, the city had a total population of 2,908,607, when including the metropolitan area. The city is coterminous with the boundaries of the Distrito Nacional , itself bordered on three sides by Santo Domingo Province. Founded by Bartholomew Columbus in 1496, on the east bank of the Ozama River and then moved by Nicolás de Ovando in 1502 to the west bank of the river, the city is the oldest continuously inhabited European settlement in the Americas, and was the first seat of the Spanish colonial rule in the New World. Santo Domingo is the site of the first university, cathedral, castle, monastery, and fortress in the New World. The city's Colonial Zone was declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
It is situated on the southeast coast of the island of Hispaniola, at the mouth of the Ozama River, and is the oldest permanent city established by Europeans in the Western Hemisphere. The city is also the seat of the oldest Roman Catholic archbishopric in the Americas.
Santo Domingo was called Ciudad Trujillo from 1936 to 1961, after the Dominican Republic's dictator, Rafael Trujillo, named the capital after himself. Following his assassination, the city resumed its original designation. Santo Domingo is the cultural, financial, political, commercial and industrial center of the Dominican Republic, with the country's most important industries being located within the city. Santo Domingo also serves as the chief seaport of the country. The city's harbor at the mouth of the Ozama River accommodates the largest vessels, and the port handles both heavy passenger and freight traffic. Temperatures are high year round, with cooler breezes during winter time.
Data and Facts
- The Dominican Republic is the oldest country of the Americas, the first place reached by Christopher Columbus in 1492
- Dating back to 1502, Calle Las Damas is the New World’s oldest paved street
- Santo Domingo is the largest metropolitan area in the Caribbean by population
- Santo Domingo enjoys a tropical climate and maintains a state of "eternal summer". While temperatures are steady, rainfall is not, as the rainiest months are May through October
- It has a population of 2.2 million (approx.) and the official spoken language is Spanish
The provinces are the first–level administrative subdivisions of the country. The headquarters of the central government's regional offices are normally found in the capital cities of provinces. The president appoints an administrative governor (Gobernador Civil) for each province but not for the Distrito Nacional (Title IX of the constitution).The provinces are divided into municipalities (municipios), which are the second–level political and administrative subdivisions of the country.The Distrito Nacional was created in 1936. Prior to this, the Distrito National was the old Santo Domingo Province, in existence since the country's independence in 1844. It is not to be confused with the new Santo Domingo Province split off from it in 2001. While it is similar to a province in many ways, the Distrito Nacional differs in its lack of an administrative governor and consisting only of one municipality, Santo Domingo, the city council (ayuntamiento) and mayor (síndico) which are in charge of its administration.The provinces are also constituencies for the elections to the bicameral National Congress (Congreso de la República). Each province elects one member of the Senate (Senado) and a guaranteed minimum of two members of the Chamber of Deputies (Cámara de Diputados).
Santo Domingo is the center of the national government of the Dominican Republic. The President's office and ministries, National Congress, Supreme Court of Justice, and other main government institutions are located in the metropolitan area. The city is administered by the Ayuntamiento del Distrito Nacional (City Hall), which is responsible for municipal functions. The current mayor of Santo Domingo is David Collado. The "Policía Nacional" (National Police) and "Policia Turística" (Tourist Police) (POLITUR) are tasked with enforcing city safety.
The city is the center of economic activity in the Dominican Republic. It is where most of the country's wealth is concentrated and the seat of the national legislature, judicial, and executive government. 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 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. This has attracted numerous call centers in recent years. Santo Domingo not only has excellent telecommunications infrastructure but also a sizable bilingual population that speaks English. The city's economic growth can be witnessed in the extensive vertical growth experienced across many of its neighborhoods. The construction boom is reflected in the many high density residential towers, shopping malls, elevated highways, the metro expansion and overall increase in commercial activity.
Santo Domingo has a thriving middle class contrasting with the significant pockets of poverty that remain as challenges for the future. Areas of extensive development include the Poligono Central, which is bordered by the Avenida John F. Kennedy northward 27 February Avenue south, Avenida Winston Churchill to the west and Avenida Máximo Gómez to the east, and is characterized by its mixed development and its very active nightlife. Santo Domingo has areas of high development, among them Serralles, Naco, Arroyo Hondo, Piantini, Urb Fernandez, Ens. Julieta, Paraiso, Los Prados, Bella Vista, Sarasota and other sectors, where most of the middle class can be found.Bella Vista and La Esperilla are currently the fastest growing sectors with large mega -projects.
Santo Domingo is ideal for doing business. As the financial and economic center of the Dominican Republic, as well as one main hubs in the Caribbean, Santo Domingo has a robust economy that is experiencing rapid growth and a sharp increase in foreign investment. One look at the city skyline will reveal the activity underway… new corporate and commercial development, and numerous high-rise residences.
The city is the center of economic activity in the Dominican Republic. It is where most of the country's wealth is concentrated and the seat of the national legislature, judicial, and executive government. The city attracts many international firms and franchises such as Ikea, Goldcorp and Barrick due to its 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. 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 can be witnessed in the extensive vertical growth experienced across many of its neighborhoods. Santo Domingo has a thriving middle class contrasting with the significant pockets of poverty that remain as challenges for the future. Areas of extensive development include the Poligono Central, which is bordered by the Avenida John F. Kennedy northward 27 February Avenue south, Avenida Winston Churchill to the west and Avenida Máximo Gómez to the east, and is characterized by its mixed development and its very active nightlife.
Santo Domingo has areas of high development, among them Serralles, Naco, Arroyo Hondo, Piantini, Urb Fernandez, Ens. Julieta, Paraiso, Los Prados, Bella Vista, Sarasota and other sectors, where most of the middle class can be found.
Santo Domingo is the terminus for four of the five national highways. The city is connected to the southwest of the country by the national highway DR-2 , and with the cities of the country's northwest by DR-1 , which serves as a direct link to the city of Santiago de los Caballeros. DR-3 connects Santo Domingo directly to the east of the country, including the cities of San Pedro de Macorís, La Romana, and major tourist sites such as Punta Cana and Bávaro, and to the Samaná Province via the Samana Highway. In the city, motoconchos , guaguas/voladoras , and carros públicos/conchos are common modes of transport. The Santo Domingo Metro is the highest quality in the region of the Caribbean and Central America. It is composed of 2 lines that cross the city.
Santo Domingo is the terminus for four of the five national highways. The city is connected to the southwest of the country by the national highway DR-2 , and with the cities of the country's northwest by DR-1 , which serves as a direct link to the city of Santiago de los Caballeros. The Santo Domingo Metro is the highest quality in the region of the Caribbean and Central America. It is composed of 2 lines that cross the city. Santo Domingo has an underground and elevated rapid transit metro system. It is the most extensive metro in the Caribbean and Central American region by total length and number of stations.The Santo Domingo Metro is part of a major «National Master Plan» to improve transportation in the city as well as the rest of the nation. The first line was planned to relieve traffic congestion in the Máximo Gómez and Hermanas Mirabal Avenue. The second line, which opened in April 2013, is meant to relieve the congestion along the Duarte-Kennedy-Centenario Corridor in the city from west to east. As of August 2013, the metro consists of these two lines. Four more lines are planned to be constructed in the near future, for a total of six. Before the opening of the second line, 30,856,515 passengers rode the Santo Domingo Metro in 2012. The cable car is used by more than 12,000 people daily.Santo Domingo is served by two airports. Aeropuerto Internacional La Isabela a newly constructed airport located in the northern section of the city, within kilometres of the city center. It serves mostly domestic and charter flights. The major international airport that serves the city is Santo Domingo Las Americas, which serves North, Central and South America and also Europe.
The Port of Santo Domingo is located on the Ozama River. Its location at the center of the Caribbean is well suited for flexible itinerary planning and has excellent support, road and airport infrastructure within the Santo Domingo region, which facilitate access and transfers. The port is suitable for both turnaround and transit calls. The port's renovation is part of a major redevelopment project, aimed at integrating the port area and the Zona Colonial and foster a cruise, yacht, and high-end tourism destination.
The Dominican Republic makes up two-thirds of the island of Hispaniola. It borders Haiti, which occupies the remaining third of the island. Situated between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, the Dominican Republic mostly consists of rugged highlands and fertile valleys. The consequences of climate change the country faces are increasing water shortages, soil erosion and drought. The barren lands are left vulnerable to these effects due to runoffs and soil erosion, as they cannot withstand the intense rains and dry periods as well as forested areas can.
To combat these effects, technical assistance from UNEP DTU Partnership experts highlighted the need for soil conservation technologies and a forestry monitoring system. From a mitigation standpoint, the TNA led to the prioritization of two mitigation technologies in the electricity sector. The Technology Action Plan outlines a short-term technology as a change of lighting systems in public facilities, with six public institutions acting as a pilot project. A longerterm technology is the use of biomass to create electricity and heat. Another pilot project detailed in the Technology Action Plans is the installation of rainwater collection systems in 131 homes in the rural La Sierrecita community, stabilizing otherwise unreliable water sources. The National Institute of Water Resources was included in the TNA planning phases and they are the key actor in realizing the project. The Dominican Republic completed its TNA in 2012. The results were directly used in the NDC, where the TNA measures of identification measures and chosen technologies for implementation were applied.
Social Wellness and Human Resources
The demographics of Santo Domingo are similar to other metropolitan areas of the country, except that the population of immigrants is larger in the city because of the relative ease of finding work and the economic dynamism compared to other provinces. Santo Domingo, like most of the country, is made up of native-born Dominican mulattos, though there are large numbers of Afro-Dominicans and Euro-Dominicans, as well as a large immigrant community. In fact, over 20% of the city's population is composed of immigrants, mainly Haitians. However, there are also recent immigrants from Europe, Asia, as well as other Latin American nations present in the city. The city of Santo Domingo has a significant community of Asians , Arabs , and Europeans are also present in the city. There are also significant numbers of Venezuelans and Puerto Ricans, in the city, as well as U.S.-born Dominicans returning to their parents' home country. The city is one of the most economically developed cities in Latin America. Santo Domingo's population in 2010 was 3.8 million in the metropolitan area.
The performing arts are very important in Santo Domingo. The city has its own symphonic orchestra, chamber orchestra, opera company, ballet company, folkloric company, and national theater, including a number of smaller groups. The Plaza of culture is the center of activity, but there are concerts, ballet, folklore, and other performances throughout the city. Casa de Teatro is the gathering place of avant garde artists, actors, and musicians. Santo Domingo is the location of numerous museums, many of which are located in the Zona Colonial district. In the Zona Colonial is the Museum of Alcázar, in Diego Colon's palace,the Museum of the Casas Reales, with artefacts of the colonial period and a collection of ancient weapons donated by Trujillo, the Naval Museum of the Atarazanas, in the former naval yards, Museo de la Catedral, Museo Memorial de la Resistencia Dominicana, documenting the struggle for freedom during the regimes of Trujillo and Balaguer, Museo Duarte, dedicated to the hero of Dominican independence, and the World of Ambar Museum. Plaza de la Cultura also houses the city's most important cultural venues, including the Teatro Nacional and various museums; the Palacio Nacional, which houses the Presidency of the Dominican Republic; the Palacio de Bellas Artes , a neoclassical building that is the permanent home of the country's National Symphony Orchestra; and the Boulevard 27 de Febrero, a pedestrian promenade located on the busy Avenida 27 de Febrero, which displays works of art from prominent Dominican artists and sculptors. Another attraction is the Centro Olímpico Juan Pablo Duarte, a sports complex in the center of Santo Domingo.