Hospital San Nicolás de Bari

Calle Hostos, Zona Colonial, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Built between 1503 and 1508, this Gothic Renaissance relic with Moorish arches was the first hospital in the New World. Named for the patron saint of cures, it was designed in the shape of a Latin cross—the center nave was used for worship and the two lateral sections housed patients. While some walls were torn down in 1911 to avoid collapse, the resulting ruins are still staggeringly beautiful, revealing a story of pirate attacks, hurricanes, earthquakes, and revolution. Visit on Sunday night, when there’s live music, merengue, and salsa dancing in front of the ruins.

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