Cathedral of Santa María la Menor
Historic Santo Domingo offers a unique look at how the New World was settled in the years following Christopher Columbus’s arrival in the Caribbean on his first voyage in 1492, as well as subsequent expeditions. The Colonial Zone sits along the Ozama River, where the settlement’s original layout, walls, forts and other buildings remain much as they were 500 years ago. With its wealth of colonial architecture, the area has not surprisingly been recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Among the historic buildings is the first cathedral built in the Americas, the Basilica Cathedral of Santa María la Menor (also known as the Catedral Primada de América, recognizing its historic significance). The ornate church once housed the remains of Christopher Columbus until they were moved to the Columbus Lighthouse, in the eastern part of the city.