Church and Hospital of San Lázaro, Santo Domingo

Visit the Church and Hospital of San Lázaro and learn about the ancient leper’s hospital in Santo Domingo.

Church and Hospital of San Lázaro, Santo Domingo
Church and Hospital of San Lázaro
© Do Anh Vu

By the end of the 16th century, the Church and Hospital of San Lázaro belonged to the leper’s hospital and it was located in the suburbs of the city in order to avoid the spreading of the disease. However, it was rebuilt after an earthquake in 1759 which only left the Lázaro Chapel standing.

Iglesia y hospital de San Lázaro, Santo Domingo
Iglesia y hospital de San Lázaro, Santo Domingo
© Do Anh Vu

Due to its practical nature, throughout the time it has been under so many remodelings that it is impossible to distinguish its original structure. Several elements emphasize its interesting aspect: it has a Gothic-style chapel as well as buttresses both inside and outside of it, in addition to the different materials that were used to raise its walls.

During the 1978 restoration, it was discovered an archery of three naves whose brick arches are supported by stone columns which come from a low wall, as it was typical of the classic Romanesque European ones. On the major altar you can see the Baroque altarpiece which used to have on its center an image of the Virgen de la Caridad. On the outside, some Mudejar style battlements decorate the atrium of the entrance.

During that same restoration, the anthropologist Fernando Luna Calderón found numerous skeletons and, by means of forensic evidences, he discovered that although many patients died because of the leper, many other died from different causes because the doctors of the age mistook the actual illnesses they had with symptoms of leper and they treated them in the wrong way.

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At the corner between Santomé and Juan Isidro Pérez streets. Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

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