The Colonial Zone or Colonial City in Santo Domingo is the oldest city built by Europeans in the American continent. Most of the buildings in this area were the first: first Cathedral, church, hospital, university, etc. Columbus found the perfect port and decided to build the city here, giving the responsibillity to his brother Bartholomew to oversee construction of the city which began in 1496. The colonial zone is the main tourist attraction in Santo Domingo. There are many historical buildings and small alleys to discover. There you will also find small coffee shops with delicious home made pastries, or traditional Dominican restaurants where you can try some of the dishes that make Dominican cuisine so special.
Or enjoy a glass of wine at the Casa de Ovando, said to be the home of governor Nocolas de Ovando and now a luxury hotel with views of the Ozama river and port. A must see is the Alcazar de Clon, Columbus' son's palace where he lived while he was governor of the island and the accompanying museum next door.