From history’s annals, walls tell an amazing assortment of tales. What they’ve laid witness to can fire the imagination. Each brick hewn by by a stone mason with precision, each mortared in place with craft, juxtaposed to it’s brothers to form a unified architectural wonder. The walls of the Fuerte de San Diego in Santo Domingo’s Colonial Zone, Dominican Republic tell many tales. Including … the addition of electricity! Old meets new …
The first city in the Americas began with Columbus’ landing and has seen it’s way through many turmoils over the last 500 years. The decay of the weathered stones, though they remain standing, makes you appreciate their strength. The safety they provided the colonial city. In its glory, a veritable fortress.
I feel a fierce pride as I walk through this part of the Zone. I am not Dominican, but no matter what, I am in essence related to the Dominican Republic through Columbus. That alone gives me license to feel the welling in my chest. He discovered the Americas, and I’m part of that. Ergo … pride. If these walls could talk, I wonder what they would have to say. I think for a moment, and so many thoughts race through my mind as to what they would say. “Yearn for peace. I have protected you through all our challenges. What happened to Queen Isabella the Catholic’s desire that all people be treated fairly and justly? Why are you writing on me, stop it, that hurts!” I challenge you too, to think of what your favourite walls might tell you.
I particularly liked walking up to the ramparts of Fuerte de San Diego, beside Alcázar de Diego Colón. The view from the Spanish fort is not that of history, but that of a modern seaport and bridges. I wondered how many battles this wall had seen. Staring at Rio Ozama I let my imagination run wild. At Fuerte de San Diego, old meets new. Tired brick springs to life with the graffiti of love. Young lovers, maybe old ones as well, single individuals, have imprinted their names on one brick wall. Almost every brick is covered. It’s almost a sacrilege, but also a thing of beauty. I wonder who belongs to the names. A new history!
The gateway of Fuerte de San Diego is another example of old meets new. A gentle reminder that these walls are of a great past, that we are a part of that past, but only in the present.
I think it’s time to come down off the wall and catch my shuttle!
for offering up the challenge of this writing assignment.
Listen to the palms…
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