Montecristi a Province Having a History
History, art, beautiful landscapes and a variety of flora and fauna is what Montecristi offers, one of the 31 provinces of the Dominican Republic located in the northwest region of the country.
Founded in 1506 by Nicolas de Ovando, it was repopulated 27 years later by John Bolaños and sixty families from the Canary Islands. In 1606, the devastations caused by Osorio (ordered by the Spanish King Felipe III to end smuggling) cleared the area of people, but was inhabited again on April 25, 1879 becoming the Marino District, and a province later in 1907.
In the past, Montecristi was a thriving city of great importance in export markets of raw materials and import of various products such as machinery or fabrics. In fact the capital, San Fernando of MonteCristi, received the first railroad and had the first telephone in the country. Today, economic activity is limited and focuses on the agricultural sector (caprine, bovine and sheep cattle and rice and banana harvest). It is also the largest producer of salt in the country. Fishing is also important (sport and commercial).
Architecture and art
But Montecristi is much more. Strolling through its streets is a real journey to the past surrounded by Victorian style houses with surprising stories behind their walls. This is the case of Villa Doña Emilia, whose landlady was the owner of the Casa Jiménez, a major trading house with business in Europe that contributed to the progress of the city. For the villa construction (1895), the family imported all materials from France. It was declared a National Monument and was the Palace of Justice until 1990.
Museum of Máximo Gómez also has a piece of history of the province, as it was where the Montecristi Manifesto, a document that inspired the independence of Cuba from Spain and was signed between the Cuban writer and politician José Martí and the Dominican General Máximo Gómez in March, 1895. Today, it houses important documents and historical and personal belongings of the signatories. The church of San Fernando and the clock tower of Montecristi are other must-see places. The latter was designed by French engineer Alexandre Gustave Eiffel and built by watchmaker Jean-Paul Garnier. It is the symbol of the city of San Fernando and reached Montecristi by sea. It was taken by local train and installed in March, 1895 in the Duarte Park. It is a square clock, Swiss origin, located in an iron tower. It measures 29 meters and there is a sphere in each of its faces. For its part, the church has a bell tower surrounding an altar decorated in mahogany and has a brightly colored stained glass.
Located in the Dominican Republic, this province also shows its tourist attractions: steppes, wetlands, beaches, lagoons, and a rich endemic flora to which is attached a large population of migratory species: whales, dolphins, manatees, turtles, pelicans ... Montecristi hosts the largest and best preserved coral barrier reefs in the Caribbean. In addition, it is one of the best places for bird, botany and astrological observation.
El Morro deserves special attention, hill which is shaped like a camel lying down and watching the port and is raised to 242 meters above sea level, and Montecristi Beach of brownish red sand, rough and heavy swell which makes it even more attractive. Nearby the Siete Hermanos Keys are found, small islets of Montecristi National Park, which offers a spectacular landscape of subtropical dry forest surrounded by mangroves.
It is also curious to visit the saltworks and see how sea salt is made. People from Montecristi are still utilizing the same process used by the first settlers of the province.
As for the traditions, we must not forget the carnival, very popular and symbolic. The bulls face civilians in a fight full of color and acclaims from the audience. The one who knocks down the opponent is the winner. It is also very famous the steal the chicken game, where the character walks down the streets of the city surrounded by children. The cuisine is varied highlighting dishes such as flag (rice, green beans and meat), parboiled, soaked seafood, lobsters, shrimp, grey mullet, ... The most representative dish of the province is goat, which can be roasted, stewed or baked (chivo liniero), among other options. Referring to drinks the papaya shake, oats juice with lemon or ‘mabí de las inglesitas’ are included. Montecristi, a whole province to be discovered where history, tradition and natural resources of great value combine.