This post is also available in: SpanishLast Friday the 8th of February 2013 marked the beginning of a great transformation in the town of La Romana, just outside of Casa de Campo. The prison overlooking the Salao river and the Casa de Campo – La Romana tourist port, known locally as “La Fortaleza Santa Rosa de Lima” (the fort), took it’s first symbolic steps towards being transformed into the “Aldea Cultural Santa Rosa de Lima” (cultural village). The ceremony which took pace at 11am on the 8th of February was presided over by the Vicepresident of the Dominican Republic, Margarita Cedeño de Fernández, the Minister of Culture José Antonio Rodríguez and the First Lady Cándida Montilla de Medina, and attended by Attorney General of the Dominiscan Republic Francisco Domínguez Brito; minister of sports, Jaime David Fernández Mirabal; major of La Romana, Juan Antonio Adames; Governor of the La Romana province, Juan José Santana and Major General Gerardo de los Santos Mora. And yet it wasn’t the presence of so many VIP’s, nor the concept for the culture village that was most impressive – it was the imagination and professionalism with which the entire occasion was managed – something which speaks volumes for the future success of this project. Having just marked the 200th anniversary of the birth of Juan Pablo Duarte, known as the Dominican Republic’s founding father, the ceremony began with a visit and address from Juan Pablo Duarte himself (represented by a very convincing actor), followed by Luisa María Ortiz Guzman and Minister of Culture José Antonio Rodríguez. To end the show a group of children from a local La Romana school sang, whilst to the rhythmic beating of drums one of the external walls of the prison came tumbling down.
“La Fortaleza Santa Rosa de Lima” prison in La Romana
This was truly inspiring and moving occasion – seeing a facility which was, to put it very lightly, something that La Romana and its people could not be proud of – not only closed down but ready to be re-commissioned as something which will help the greater good of the area, was simply wonderful. Congratulations to the Minister of Culture José Antonio Rodríguez for this excellent initiative.
Rendering of the future “Aldea Cultural Santa Rosa de Lima” in La RomanaThe structure of “La Fortaleza”, built at the beginning of the 1900’s will remain intact as much as is possible in the construction of the new cultural village “Aldea Cultural Santa Rosa de Lima” and will include a center for fine arts, a naval museum and an amphitheatre as well as an exhibit on the tabacco industry – one of the attractions directed towards tourists. Once opened, the new center will be used by members of the public, local schools as well as by tourists. Unfortunately we don’t yet have any more information of this project – but as soon as we do we will be sure to update you!