Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic has been named the American Cultural Capital for 2010 by the organization American Capital of Culture.

Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic has been named the American Cultural Capital for 2010 by the organization American Capital of Culture.

The Dominican Republic’s capital city, Santo Domingo is a center of creative thought, education and history. It was the first city in the New World and helped to open up the Americas. Santo Domingo is now a thriving metropolis of some 2.3 million people and its known for its vibrant culture.

“We are honored by this prestigious recognition. Santo Domingo is a modern, yet very historic city founded by Christopher Columbus’ brother Bartholomew in 1496,” says Magaly Toribio, the Dominican Republic’s Vice Minister of international promotion. “With over 500 years of spirited Dominican culture, Santo Domingo’s assets are especially unique and offer the world a living testament to the past that formed us as a nation and ignited exploration of the New World.”

This photograph shows Santo Domingo's old Colonial City area at night. Santo Domingo is the capital city of the Dominican Republic and is the oldest city in the New World. The Colonial City contains Christopher Columbus' home, the Alcazar de Colon

In 2009, the American Cultural Capital was Asunción in Paraguay. The 2008 recipient of the award was Brasilia, the capital of Brazil. Cities honored with the award in previous years include Cuzco, Perú in 2007; Córdoba, Argentina in 2006; Guadalajara, México in 2005; Santiago, Chile in 2004; Curitiba, Brasil and Panamá City, Panamá in 2003, in a joint award; Maceió, Brazil in 2002; Iquique, Chile in 2001; and Mérida, México in 2000. For more information on the American Capital of Culture organization, visit

The oldest part of Santo Domingo is known as the Colonial City, where visitors can explore the Alcazar de Colon, Colombus’ home, and also the first cathedral, university and hospital established in the Americas. Historic buildings rest along cobblestone streets that Spanish conquistadors once strolled. The legendary city has a wealth of museums, monuments and restaurants, set among the larger city’s modern amenities such as the new Metro transportation system, modern cruise ship terminals, cuisine, unique shopping, architecture and more.

Resting on the Caribbean Sea, Santo Domingo is a center of commerce with 2.3 million residents, dozens of museums, opera, arts and historic sites such as the Columbus Lighthouse, where Christopher Columbus’ remains are said to be. With two major airports, highways and seaports, Santo Domingo serves as gateway to more than 800 miles of Dominican Republic coastline, mountains studded with waterfalls, exotic cuisine, and countless arts and entertainment options.

The Dominican Republic is a diverse destination offering both Dominican and European flavors to more than one million U.S. visitors annually. For more information, visit the Dominican Repubic Ministry of Tourism’s official Web site at