The Dominican Republic is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. And for good reason, all sorts of activities can be enjoyed there, including scuba diving, sailing trips and casinos. But the Dominican Republic is also home to a splendid cultural site, which is unfortunately not well known: the Museo of Altagracia.
Our Lady of La Altagarcia
There was a time when the inhabitants of the Dominican Republic were scared of the Virgin known as Our Lady of La Altagarcia. However, over the centuries and following repeated invasions, the heritage of this religion has gradually been forgotten. The Museo de la Altagarcia was created to remedy this. Indeed, this museum is dedicated to the Virgin. Its aim is to preserve, transmit and enhance the cultural and religious heritage that has been created around the Virgin of La Altagarcia.
Today, you can discover different objects that were part of the religious life of the inhabitants of the Dominican Republic in the past. Among the objects on display are the offerings that these believers left for the Virgin.
The works of Diego José Hilaris
Apart from religious objects, the Museo de la Altagarcia also houses an impressive collection of paintings. The works on display were created by Diego José Hilaris in the 18th century. Despite the centuries, these paintings have hardly deteriorated. This is all the more astonishing given the exotic climate of the Dominican Republic and the fact that no special measures were taken to protect these works of art for almost two centuries.
In his paintings, the author recounts the miracles that the Virgin of La Altagarcia is said to have performed from the 16th to the 18th century. It is also worth noting that 16 of the 27 works created by Diego José Hilaris during his lifetime are on display in the museum.
A collection of precious jewelery
The Museo de la Altagarcia also houses a room known as the Treasure Room. Here you can see an impressive collection of jewels made of precious metals. What is special about these jewels? They date from the 17th to the 20th century and do not only come from local goldsmiths.
In fact, many of the jewels come from the Dominican Republic’s neighbouring countries. Among the jewels on display, you can see a gold and emerald votive holder and a silver censer. In addition to these jewels, religious vestments from different eras are on display in the Treasure Room.
In addition, there is an area for prayer outside the museum. Every year, thousands of pilgrims come to pray there. The museum can be visited with or without a guide.