Fortaleza Ozama


Fortaleza OzamaThe Fortaleza Ozama is the oldest fort in the Caribbean and is called Ozama because it was built on the banks of the great Ozama River in the Dominican Republic. The Fortaleza Ozama was constructed between 1502 and 1508 by Frey Nicholas de Ovando, the founding father of the city of Santo Domingo. Initially, the fort was built to defend the city against attacks by pirates, but grew to become a wonderful fort that has the distinction of never having been taken by force.

To the left of the entrance to the fort you will see the statue of Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo, who was sent from Spain to Santo Domingo to take charge of the fort and warden of the prison. View the stunning statue which is made of bronze yet hollow as it stands tall on the fort’s grounds. Walk to the right of the fort to tour the Polvorín de Santa Bárbara. An amazing place to explore, as its structure looks like a small church with extra thick walls as it faces the river.

You will also see an image of Santa Bárbara as you enter the armory. He was a patron saint of artillerymen in Spain, Colombia, Cuba, Puerto Rico and of course Dominican Republic. View the cannons that were never used at the back of the fort. The castle-like structure at the top of the fort is the Tower of Homage. It was built in medieval style rising to a peak, as it to glorify the Spanish conquerors.

Tower of Homage also served as a prison until 1970, walk down the steps of the courtyard to tour the dungeons. Look through the windows where you will see the towers coral rock formations. On the second level you can observe that some of the doorways that are very short. Enter one the bedrooms of the fort where Diego Colón and his wife María de Toledo once lived. Although the room has no furnishings you can imagine the lively conversations by its occupants.

On your visit to the island of Domincan Republic, take a tour of Fortaleza Ozama while enjoying the spectacular views of the Ozama River and the beautiful Caribbean Sea beyond.