Founded in 1495 during the first wave of European colonization of the New World, today Santiago de los Treinta Caballeros (the first
Santiago of the Americas) is the second largest Metropolis in the Dominican Republic located in the North-central region of the Republic known as Cibao valley.
This city, also known as Santiago de los 30 Caballeros or simply Santiago, is the capital of Santiago Province.
The original colony was in the city of Jacagua, but when it was destroyed by an earthquake, it was moved to its present location in 1506. It was devastated by another earthquake in 1562. Santiago de los Treinta Caballeros has sometimes been the capital of the country, and was an important strategic city in the Dominican War of Independence in 1844.
Santiago de los Treinta Caballeros is located on a hilly terrain in the middle of the Cibao Valley in the Central Region of the Dominican Republic, one of the most fertile lands found in the island. The Yaque del Norte river passes by Santiago which is in between Cordillera Central and Cordillera Septentrional, two of the three major mountain ranges on the island of Hispaniola, forming the Cibao Valley.
The average temperature varies little in the city, because the tropical trade winds help mitigate the heat and humidity throughout the year. December and January are the coolest months and July and August are the warmest. Santiago and the rest of the country are in the Caribbean and have a tropical climate, which makes them very vulnerable to hurricanes. However Santiago most of the time has a cloudy climate and it is less warm than Santo Domingo because it is located 183 meters above sea level.
The city of Santiago, as most of the Cibao region, is hugely dependent in the fertile lands of the region.]This makes Santiago de los Treinta Caballeros an important region for farming and livestock. The city has been recently growing into a service predominant provider. The sector has grown a lot in the recent years making it great for expansion.
It should be noted that Santiago is the 2nd most important city in the Dominican Republic after Santo Domingo and due to that case, it produces the 2nd highest percentage of the nations GDP.
Telecommunications like wireless, cable, internet and other forms hold an important part of the city too. Even though it has shown progress throughout the years Santiago still faces the lack of providing efficient basic service like constant water, and electricity. Tourism too, accounts for an important part in the city’s economy.
Santiago City and Duarte Highway seen from the HOMS.
Like Santo Domingo, Santiago has recently experienced an era of rapid growth and development. It has become a city of great importance for the nation and the region’s development. Santiago like any other fast growing city is faced with numerous problems including precarious electricity and water infrastructure just to name a few. The approximate population of Santiago is in the range of 993,629 inhabitants. The fastest growing neighborhood in the city of Santiago is La Trinitaria
• Centro Mall de Las Colinas
• El Encanto
• El mercado del Cibao
• El Super Pola
• La Opera
• La Sirena
Arts and Culture
Catedral de Santiago: The Cathedral of Santiago was built in 1895 by Onofre de Lora, an architect native to the city.
Hermanos Patiño Bridge:
The Hermanos Patiño Bridge (which should be renamed
the Patiño’s bridge)is both the largest and oldest bridge in the city connecting the North and South sides of the city of Santiago. It’s Construction was started by Rafael Leonidas Trujillo and inaugurated in 1962, one year after his death.
The Bridge is named after the five (not two) brothers that died in an effort to end Trujillo’s regime and dictatorship in the Dominican Republic in the mid 20th Centuy. The anti-Trujillo legacy of the Patiño family did not began with the brothers, but with their father who was killed in 1931 in the first anti-Trujillo insurrection in the Dominican Republic.
Monument to the Heroes of Restoration: On a hill overlooking Santiago is a 67 meters (220 ft) high marble monument. Construction of the monument began in 1944 on the orders of then-dictator Rafael Trujillo. He named it
the Monument of the Peace of Trujillo. Trujillo was assassinated in 1961, after which the monument was renamed the
Monument to the Heroes of the Restoration, in remembrance of the Independence Restoration War of 1863, in which the Dominican Republic regained its independence from Spain.
Centro Leon in Santiago, is a modern museum that shows the Dominican Culture and some Dominican habits and National Parks
There are some interesting museums in Santiago that show the culture of this northern city. Some of them are:
• Museo Folklórico Yoryi Morel :This Museum is located in the Historic City Center in the Restauracion Street. This museum shows the Santiago’s Carnival Culture, it have some interesting wearings of the Lechones the vestiments of Santiago Province in the Carnival they also shows vestiments of some others provinces.
• Museo del Tabaco : or The Tobacco Museum is located in the Town Center. Different manufacturing methods as well as the effect of the tobacco plantations along the city’s history. Museo Histórico Fortaleza San Luis: or Historic San Luis Fort Museum is located in front of the Yaque del Norte River, Southwestern Santiago. It previously served as a municipal prison.
• Museo de los Héroes de la Restauración : or Restoration Heroes Museum (under Construction) is located in The Santiago Monument. It will show the Restauration War Pictures that occurred in 1863-1865 between the Dominican Government and the Spanish army.
• Centro León: This Museum is located in the 27 de Febrero Avenue. It shows the Caribbean Culture, the Dominican Culture, the Natural Dominican History, Natives Indians Evolution and Culture. Also, it periodically hosts different art exhibitions of Dominican and international artists. The museum is under the authority of the León Jimenes Foundation (owner of the Cervecería Nacional Dominicana as well as the Industria de Tabaco León Jimenes.
As much as the nation does, Santiago residents enjoy baseball and love to see the Dominican winter season with the local team being the Aguilas Cibaeñas. Besides baseball, basketball is also played at a professional level in the city of Santiago. The institution in charge of organizing these events is the Asociación de Baloncesto de Santiago de los Treinta Caballeros (ABASACA)
The mayor baseball and basketball teams of Santiago are the Aguilas Cibaeñas and Los Metros de Santiago.
Santiago is home of several universities including Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra (PUCMM) and Universidad Tecnológica de Santiago (UTESA). Other higher learning institutions present in Santiago are: Universidad Organización & Método (O& M), Universidad Abierta para Adultos (UAPA), Universidad Nacional Evangélica and one regional campus belonging to the Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo.
Santiago has a blooming nightlife around the Monument area. Dozens of restaurants circle the center of the city, making it an active nightlife area. Bars, clubs, and the park surrounding the monument provide recreation and fun, attracting crowds of the city’s inhabitants and tourists as well. The central portion of the city has an active nightlife.
Cibao International Airport in 2003
Carros Públicos: Santiago does not have an efficient form of transportation, there is however “Carros Públicos” (conchos) and private and independent bus owners who form their own routes according to demands.
Inter-City Bus Transportation: The city has private bus transportation to other important cities. Bus companies include Metro, Caribe Tours, Transporte Espinal, Aetra Bus.
Highways: The Autopista Juan Pablo Duarte Officially known as DR-1 passes by the city center and connects the city directly to Santo Domingo. Other minor highways connect the city to Puerto Plata, Samaná, and the northwestern region of the country. Overall, Santiago has a fine connection through highways to the rest of the country.
Airports: The Cibao International Airport serves mostly Dominicans living in the United States and other Caribbean islands like Cuba, Turks and Caicos Islands, Puerto Rico and Panama.
Proposed Rail System: The construction of a light metro rail is in the planning stage. It’s scheduled to be started by the summer of 2009. Financing is to be by a private firm, the State Rail System of Spain (FEVE). The Light rail system will connect the City center to the Airport and shorten the amount of time of trips.
HOMS South Tower
Recently, new Private and public hospital have been added to the Health care system. One of the leading projects has been the Hospital Metropolitano de Santiago(HOMS), a modern facility constructed to cease the overcrowding of Santiago’s Hospital and healthcare system. Other facilities like Cabral y Baez, and Union Medica offer their services in the city.
Gran Cibao Hotel seen from the HOMS. In the Back you can see the Cibao Airport Terminal Area.
• Gran Cibao Hotel – It is the largest hotel in the Cibao region. It will have approximately 11 floors and it will enter into service shortly.
• Light Rail in Santiago – A Light Rail development in the city’s metro area has been proposed. If completed it will be the second city In the nation to have a mass transit system and would be 3.4 miles longer than the Metro of Santo Domingo. The Light Rail will have 12 stops, its route will be from the Cemetery to the Airport. Construction was scheduled to begin in October 2007 but currently the project has been delayed and on Hold.
Highway from Santo Domingo – Santiago’s power comes from Puerto Plata, but the government commenced the building of the Electric
Highway that will feed Santiago electric energy from Santo Domingo’s generators. construction started in February 2007.
• Central Park of Santiago – The Central Park of Santiago is projected to be constructed on the land of the now defunct old Cibao International Airport that now lodges the regional seat of the National Police and the offices of the Association for Development.
The industrialists of Santiago have defended the project since it is considered to be a solution to the lack of green spaces suitable for relaxation in the city. Nevertheless it has been argued that the granting of contracts for the different phases from this project violate the frame of transparency and legality. In the Strategic Plan of Santiago it is indicated that the construction of the Metropolitan Park would increase the Santiagos green area from its currently 1.1% to 4%.
• Santiago Inteligente and Santiago Massive Retraining Program (SMART)-An initiative launched recently by the Center for Exports and Investment of the Dominican Republic (CEI-RD), headed by Eddy Martínez Manzueta and the Plan Estrategico de Santiago seeking to foster the new regional economic development and branding strategy and the promotion of Santiago as a knowledge-based production center in both conventional and emerging sectors, including Health Tourism, ITES-BPO, biotechnology and agro-business, as well as High-value manufacturing and Fashion (textiles and apparel, footwear), among others.
The initiative focuses on education and training activities, new architectural designs and development projects as well as an international marketing campaign that will help position Santiago as a unique region for R& D, innovation, and world class products and supreme quality workforce.
Some of the recreational places found in Santiago are:
Central Santiago Area
• Centro Español: located in the Panamericana Avenue, this place is very visited during summer time by Santiago’s population and also tourists. Many activities take place in it, such as sports like swimming, basketball, baseball, softball, football, golf, table games, and children summer camps. They also host parties with famous Dominican and international artists. Its access is restricted to registered members only.
• Gurabito Country Club: Another popular club located in Panamericana Avenue, it’s another recreational center. They have sports activities, such as baseball and basketball. Parties with Dominican artist take place periodically in this club as well as some pool parties with other Dominicans singers. Access restricted to members only
• Kaskada Agua Park: Located in Panamericana Avenue too, is a water theme park. Access is not restricted to members, which makes it more attractive for the general public.
Source : Wikipedia
Postal code : 51000
Dominican Republic’s Central North region.
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