Panteón de la Patria


Built between 1714 and 1748, Panteón de la Patria was originally to be served as a church consisting of a central nave and two lateral chapels. Today, the Panteon Nacional or National Mausoleum stands as the last building constructed by the Spanish in Santo Domingo. This is where the Jesuit Fathers gave mass with their backs turned to the congregation. A belief of traditions that if they turned their backs to the congregation, Jesus Christ would be in front of them and in this way all would face the Lord.
Panteón de la Patria

Situated next to the Jesuit Church on the Calle de las Damas in a small plaza called Plazoleta de Maria de Toledo, is where the Panteón de la Patria is found. Explore this magnificent place in Dominican Republic to view the Honor Guard which stands at the entrance, always at attention as he stands absolutely still. You will see the flags of the various branches of the Dominican Armed Forces which fly within the walls of the Panteón de la Patria.

View the ceiling of the Panteón de la Patria with its beautiful mural by the Spanish artist, Rafael Pellicer. This wall painting depicts the Ascension to Heaven and the final Judgment. As you walk along the path you will see about 36 tombs that do not bear names, which are heroes and one with no marking is for the Unknown Soldier.
Panteón de la Patria

However, other heroes are buried at the Panteón de la Patria to include, Concepcion Bona, the designer of the Dominican flag, Americo Lugo, the great Dominican historian, General Pedro Santana, the first constitutional president, the Admirals Juan Bautista Canbiaso and Juan Alejandro Acosta, founders of the Dominican Navy and Emilio Prud’homme and José Reyés who wrote the words and music for the Dominican National Anthem.

Before the Panteón de la Patria became a momentous landmark, it served many purposes. It was used as a warehouse for tobacco, a theatre, a school and as headquarters for various governmental institutions, after the Jesuits were expelled for having allied themselves politically. But in 1955, during the reign of Trujillo, it was restored and declared the Panteon Nacional, a cemetery for national heroes.

Stand under the bronze chandelier that hangs from the ceiling which was a gift from General Francisco Franco of Spain to Trujillo. At this spot you will see the eternal flame that burns 24 hours a day, while the organ at the back fills the hall with choruses to the balconies above.
Panteón de la Patria2

Visit the Panteón de la Patria on your next vacation to the island of Dominican Republic, to learn about and see the heroes of this great Caribbean nation.