Concepción de la Vega THE FIRST CITY
It was one of the first settlements the Spaniards founded on the island more than five hundred years ago. This city, which name comes from the valley where it is located, was born under the Fuerte de la Concepción’ shelter. Its gold mines allowed it to be a prosperous city. It contributes more than half of the country water supply thanks to a great aquifer richness in its municipalities Constanza and Jarabacoa.
LA VEGA VIEJA
In the ruins of the city founded by Columbus in 1494 “La Vega Vieja”, archaeologists are still studying the old metropolis’ foundations that was really prosperous between 1505 and 1510. Historians say that it was a gold producing center, reaching the fame of being one of the richest cities in the Dominican Republic. In this first town, a stone church was built early, in which fray Pedro de Córdova began to defend Indians rights. In 1562 a devastating earthquake destroyed the whole city. The Monastery of San Francisco ruins where Fray Bartolomé de las Casas made his first mass, are a prove of that fact. It was rebuilt in a new location on the banks of the Camu River the next year. Currently, the city has around 400,000 inhabitants, with a dynamic commercial life and many touristic places to visit. The Immaculate Conception Cathedral is a popular religiosity icon, so it is the temple where many activities are carried out according to the liturgical time. Its construction lasted 15 years, being completed in 1992. As an interesting fact, it must be emphasized that it is one of the few cathedrals in the world where the Christ
La Vega Carnival NATIONAL FOLK HERITAGE
The priest Fray Bartolomé de las Casas was speechless when in February 1520 he was welcomed in La Vega, at the rhythm of Moors and Christians costumes who were proudly displayed by people of those lands. As documented by the Fray, the festival had a Spanish expression, by using red, yellow and green suits. They emphasized the representative masks of the medieval devil with big ears, open mouth and teeth to the air, that were made as a reflection of the colony, on the eve of the Christian Lent. Six centuries later, this carnival has been declared a national folkloric heritage and is considered the most ancient in America. A tradition that survives in one February Sunday, when at the afternoon, the “Cojuelo” devils come out. According to popular tradition, these fantastic creatures pretend limping so that people approach with confidence and then they take advantage of that to attack them. Fantastic characters with goatee beards, who go out in the streets armed with bull bladders to hit anyone who dares to run into them on public roads but respecting those who, stay away from them because of fear or respect, and stay statue is represented as resurrected and does not appear dead on the cross. The Dominican Republic Patron Virgin veneration center, Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes, standard of the province, is in this city in one of the most sacred places in the country, the Santo Cerro. Every September 24, Dominicans from all over the country come to pay homage to the Virgin and to admire the view from the emblematic cross at 14 meters above the Cibao Valley and the surrounding mountains landscapes. La Vega province stands out for its agricultural production. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, 35% of the country rice consumption is produced here, as well as 32% of the national poultry production. Education is also a productive engine in the city since it is the main source of employment. There are many existing schools and so, several teachers who work in the public system. The Cibao International Airport is the closest for those going to La Vega. By car or by bus, the road is very easy from Santo Domingo through the Cibao highway that runs through the central mountain range of the country. A province rich in natural attractions, but also a special religious syncretism that is part of the inhabitant’s history of La Vega and opens to the world for the enjoyment of locals and foreigners.
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