On the hearth of Dominican Republic, the town of Santiago de los Caballeros is an economic (numerous industries of rum and cigar), intellectual and cultural center.
The areas are spread over an extended surface, which makes of Santiago a bubbling and quiet city at the same time.
Every year a carnival causes general effervescence, and the various districts compete with colors and noises.
It is articulated around the Parque Duarte, park encircled by buildings dating from century XIX, of Latin style galleries and large buildings like the Palacio Consistorial. In the park is also the cathedral of Santiago Apóstol, principal worship place of the city, rebuilt in 1870 in a Gothic and colonial style at the same time.
While walking along Rio Yaque, we can see the law courts and the Fortaleza San Luis. As for Santo Domingo, this type of fortress was intended to protect the city from the invasions and was transformed nowadays into formidable panorama on the city.
One of the principal streets of the center of Santiago, going to Parque Monumento, where there is the monument of the Heroes de la Restoration, built in 1940. High of 67 m, the marble building overhangs the east of the city and its visit is interesting.
We can discover there many pages of the Dominican history, through maps, old photographs, sketches and other stories.
Coming back in Calle del Sol, we can walk on the alleys around. They concentrate the oldest wooden houses of the city (in particular in Calle San Luis) colorful markets, like el mercado Yaque or el mercado Modelo, with its colored houses.
Santiago is the political and cultural cradle of the Dominican Republic, with charm and history perhaps better preserved than in Santo Domingo.
In 1795 there were already carnivals for the patronales’ festivities, in honor of Saint Jacques, for Corpus Christi and the « carnestolenda » (three days before the Ash Wednesday), in the town of Santiago de los Caballeros, whose demonstrations came from the time of the Spanish colony.
Just like in the town of Santo Domingo, the carnival was initially divided according to the stratification of the existing social classes of Santiago, with demonstrations in private clubs of the powerful sectors and in the streets of the popular districts, particularly in La Joya and Los Pepines where will appear los Lechones and Los Pepines of the city dressed up with coloured costumes and attacking itself mutually, according to a long tradition of old competition between them.
Los Lechones use masks which look like pigs, while Los Pepines use masks with pointed horns.
Fertile ground adapted for almost all the cultures, the province of Santiago of los Caballeros is recognized at the international level for its plantations of tobacco and its long tradition related to the culture, harvest, development and marketing on the market of the luxury goods. Here are produced varieties which include blend tobacco, Burley, cape tobacco and black tobacco. In Santiago are concentrated industries which manufacture the best cigars that Dominican Republic is proud to offer to the world, with same symbolism that the aboriginals smoked the pipe of peace. The country produces two thirds of the handmade premium cigars, sold on the world market.
The process of manufacture of the tobacco is performed by 27 companies which employ 12 thousand people, with an investment of more than 170 million dollars.
The pleasure of smoking a good cigar is something irreplaceable for cigars lovers and the Dominican Republic changed, in the last few years in a true paradise for them. Currently, the country is the world leader in export of cigars of high quality, fact recognized by the Association of the Tobacco Producer countries. Dozen new marks, the majority American in the beginning, are created every year in the island, and the prospects are encouraging.
The Dominican cigars possess the principal qualities of a good cigar: Combustion, texture, savor, elasticity, perfume, color and balance in the composition of nicotine and oils.
It is important to know that all the development process of the tobacco influences its final quality, since the selection of the grounds for sowing until the skill of the craftsman. The tobacco must be well collected, well dried, well stored and well fermented.
La Hoja) - Don Diego
In thirty years of manufacture, the Dominican cigars gained in reputation, and are one of the principal sources of richness for the Dominican Republic economy.
Some of the countries which appear among the principal purchasers of cigars are: The United States, Spain, Morocco, Honduras, Holland, Germany and Belgium.
This museum is located on the Parque Duarte, zone where the most important constructions of the city, among which are are: The Santiago Apostol Cathedral, the Provincial bishop’s palace, the Arts school, the Provincial Palace of the Presidency, the Recreation Center, the old Palace of the Town hall, and the Cultural Center of Santiago.
This museum exhibits everything related to the most important commercial activities of this area and of the country, the culture, the treatment and the export of the Dominican Tobacco, considered as one of best in the world, and preferred by a vast percentage of tobacco consumers at the international level.
If you would like to know more on this activity, or simply to increase your knowledge on the local culture, visit the Dominican Museum of the Tobacco, situated in the interception of the street March 30 with the street August 16.
There are a host of shopping opportunities in Santiago, the best place to go to is Mercado Modelo Turistico at Calle del Sol, where you can get a range of local handcrafted items.
Outside town, on Autopista Duarte, there are many locals selling pottery and ceramic items at very low prices. Further along the road you will find a whole host of hawkers selling a multitude of goods, such as fruit; vegetables; coconuts; cane furniture; and much more…
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