Preserving the ruins of the San Francisco Convent

Ruins tell fragments of history.

Every time a building is saved from total deterioration, part of the historical memory and sense of existence is saved.

Part of the Dominican patrimonial heritage is in a state of danger, not to say, in a deplorable state.

For example, the ruins, if they can be called the remains of Isabela, the place where the Admiral disembarked and established the first hamlet of the New World.

Among the sites in danger is the Museum of the Royal Houses.

Its intervention by builders who did not apply the proper construction measures – it has been learned – has ruined the original roofing material.

According to sources, the part of the hall where the first Tribunal of the New World was found has been seriously affected.

In fact, Casas Reales was, unusually, taken out of the restoration plan that was to be supported by the Inter-American Development Bank.

One objective that did remain was the ruins of the Convent of San Francisco.

Call for Colonial City businesses to participate in the MAP

Both the Casas Reales and the ruins of the convent are part of the colonial zone complex.

That part of Santo Domingo is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Colonial City as a target for cultural tourism is not even at 30% of its full potential.

The Convent, its ruins

A note reports that the Colonial City Revitalization Program has begun work on the temporary protection of the ruins.

The objective is to preserve the architectural integrity and provide resistance to the ruins of the Convent of San Francisco.

It is also to prevent the risk of collapse in the event of a natural disaster.

The aim is to stop the deterioration, instability and gradual loss of the structures of this monument.

This has been caused by the passage of time, natural disasters that have impacted the island and disuse, according to a press release.

The work consists of the construction of a temporary wooden structure to provide stability and firmness to the ruins of the monument.

Highly resistant and durable treated wood will be used to support the inside and outside of the weakened walls.

Also the buttresses and vaults, protecting them from possible collapses that could cause atmospheric and telluric phenomena.

The construction technology will be completed by adding steel plates for the joints of the wooden parts.

Carbon rods will also be used as reinforcing bars and reinforcement.

It will also include conservation work on the walls, joints and roofs to halt the degradation of these ruins.

The work, located in the heart of the Colonial City, does not contemplate assigning any use to this monument.

It will be the responsibility of Dominican society to determine the future use of what remains of this building.

Previous study

The evidence of its condition is evident in the Analysis of the Structural Integrity of the Ruins of the San Francisco Monastery.

It was carried out by a team of conservators headed by the French expert, Laure Marieu, and delivered to the country in January 2020.

The recipients were the Ministries of Tourism and Culture and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

The study shows the vulnerability of this monument to natural disasters, earthquakes and tropical cyclones.

Community integration

According to the norms of the Colonial City Revitalization Program, the community peripheral to the San Francisco Convent and the Historic Center has been consulted.

They have been made aware of the state of fragility of the ruins and the protection works to be executed.

Two public consultations have been held with peripheral residents and surrounding merchants, both in August 2021.

Four Community Consultation and Participation Spaces (ECOP) have been held with residents and merchants.

Artists, community leaders, religious leaders and representatives of the neighborhood councils that affect the area of the ruins have also participated.

They were carried out in March, June and August 2022 and July 202, according to the information.

The project was also agreed with the Dominican Society of Seismology and Earthquake Engineering (Sodosismica).

About the Colonial City Revitalization Program:

The Integral Program for the Tourist and Urban Development of the Colonial City of Santo Domingo (PIDTUCCSD) aims to revitalize the historic center. Of course, in its urban, economic and cultural tourism aspects.

It is carried out within the framework of a loan contract for US$90 million, signed between the Dominican State and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

It is executed by the Ministry of Tourism, through the Program Coordinating Unit (UCP), and in coordination with the Ministry of Culture (MINC) and the Office of the Mayor of the National District (ADN).

Source: Elcaribe.com

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