The Dominican Republic is the site of the first permanent European settlement in the Americas : its capital, Santo Domingo , which was also the first colonial capital in the Americas, site of the first cathedral, university , European-built road, European-built fortress, and more.
The national Flag of the Dominican Republic has a centered white cross that extends to the edges. It divides the flag blue (hoist side) and red, and the bottom ones are red (hoist side) and blue; a small coat of arms is at the center of the center of the cross. This emblem is similar to the flag design and shows a bible, a cross of gold and 6 Dominican flags. There are branches of olive and palm around the shield and above on the ribbon is the motto "Dios, Patria, Libertad" ("God, Country, Freedom") and to aimble freedom. The blue is said to stand for liberty, red for the fire and blood of the independence struggle and the white cross symbolized that God has not forgotten its people.
The most outstanding structure in the old city is the Alcázar, a palace built for Columbus's son, Diego, and his wife, who was also niece to Ferdinand, king of Spain. Diego became the colony's governor in 1509, and Santo Domingo rose as the hub of Spanish commerce and culture in America. For more than 60 years, this coral limestone structure on the bluffs of the Ozama River was the center of the Spanish court, entertaining such distinguished visitors as Cortés, Ponce de León, and Balboa. The nearly two dozen rooms and open-air loggias are decorated with paintings, period tapestries, and 16th-century antiques.
The Cathedral Primada de America, had its first stone placed by Diego Columbus himself in 1514. Construction went on until 1540 with many different architects adding to the combination of Gothic, Roman, and baroque styles. Unfortunately, it’s hard to know exactly what it used to look like inside because when Sir Francis Drake came to town with his greedy band of pirates, they set up camp inside the cathedral and took everything, including what was nailed down, with them when they left. Dominicans are very proud of the fact that this cathedral is widely considered the first cathedral of the New World. Whether that is the historical truth or not is a source of contention that most Dominicans wave off with a patriotic flick of the wrist. Check out the great arching ceilings, sculptures, paintings, and 14 chapels inside. Make sure you’re not wearing shorts or a tank top.
Many visitors to Dominica tell us there is just not enough time to see all the beautiful natural sites and to do all the unique activities that Dominica offers. From the Boiling Lake & the many natural hot water baths, to the cool refreshing rivers & waterfalls, and the magnificent underwater sights for snorkelers & scuba divers, Dominica's natural treasures are plentiful.
Dominicans enjoy an array of foods as colorful as the landscape, but simple in taste. Women especially take pride in preparing enticing traditional dishes, layered with ingredients of the land. Inspiration for Dominican cuisine stems from native Antillean and hearty Creole recipes and is prepared similar to the dishes of Central and South America with rice, fish and other seafood, meats or vegetables. Light spices or coconut add depth and warm the soul. Culinary specialties of the country vary from region to region, although residents of the Dominican Republic share a common hunger for its staple meals.