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Santiago, Dominican Republic

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The second city of the Dominican Republic, Santiago de los Caballeros is a richly diverse metropolis in its own right. Located in the province of Santiago, the city has a population of about 600,000. It is is the cultural and economic center of the Cibao Valley region, a center of textile manufacturing, the production of rum and tobacco, agriculture, and services.

Christopher Columbus founded the fort of Santiago on the north bank of the Yaque del Norte in 1495. In 1844 it was the site of the Battle of Santiago when the Dominicans won its independence from neighboring Haiti. It has grown with the economy of the surrounding region to be the second most populous and economically important city in the DR. The newly inaugurated (2002) Airport Cibao (STI) receives daily flights from New York, Newark, Miami, San Juan, Panama, Havana Cuba, Boston, Fort Lauderdale, and Caracas, and other major cities.

Santiago is known as a great place during carnival (Shrove Tuesday or Mardi Gras). Processions of masked dancers make the city a town of parties during this religious and cultural celebration.

Santiago Dominican Republic Attractions
The 70-meter Monument to the Heroes of the Restoration (Monumento a los Héroes de la Restauración), is located at the entrance to the city. Originally called the "Monument to Peace of Trujillo,” it was erected on the orders of the brutal dictator Rafael Trujillo. Located atop a hill on the east side of town, the marble monument contains murals commemorating the famous Spanish painter Vela Zanetti, and a staircase with 365 steps reaching to the ceiling. Its ornamentation consists of a series of ledges coffer, in harmony with all the work completing the set with elegant Ionic columns with marble floors and baseboards, in addition to the famous rock crystal lamps.

Other sites include the Thomas Morel Folk Art Museum (Museo de Arte Folclórico Tomás Morel) on Calle Restauración, where you can admire articles related to Folklore and everyday aspects of Santiago home life from the colonial period until 1960. It contains a great collection carnival masks. The Cultural Center of Santiago (Centro de la Cultura de Santiago ) on the Calle El Sol brings together cultural events and activities related to the fine arts. It exhibits paintings, sculptures, and theater performances, and functions as a center for arts education.

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