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THE VILLAGE OF ALTOS DE CHAVÓN

This architectural marvel in the southeast of the Dominican Republic has been the source of artistic and cultural inspiration for more than 30 years. Altos de Chavón is a dynamic center of international art that is home to art studios, crafts workshops, galleries, restaurants, the Church of St. Stanislaus, and the Altos de Chavón School of Design’s first campus. The village is located in the province of La Romana, 110 kilometers from the capital city of Santo Domingo, and is set in a natural environment bordered by the Chavón River, from which it takes its name, as it is situated some 50 meters above the river and sea level. (The name Chavón is thought to have derived of the indigenous name for the river, Quiabón.)

The Dominican architect José Antonio Caro drew up the original plans for this little village on the grounds of the Casa de Campo tourist complex, and construction began in 1976, ending almost a decade later. This place of striking natural beauty was inspired architecturally by 16th-century Mediterranean villages. Construction was directed by the renowned Italian designer Roberto Copa, in collaboration with a large group of Dominican artisans, who implemented his vision. Each stone was cut by hand, and the wood of the doors and furniture was worked with the same dedication as the wrought-iron details; these processes revived many almost forgotten crafts. In 1983, Altos de Chavón became the seat of The Altos de Chavón Cultural Center Foundation, a not-for-profit cultural and educational institution that today comprises The School of Design, The Regional Museum of Archaeology, the Artists in Residence program, and The Gallery.

Altos de Chavón has become one of the Dominican Republic’s most visited destinations. Today, a stroll along any of the village’s cobblestone paths reveals in every corner architecture evocative of another epoch joined with the 21st century. It is a vibrant center of artistic creativity, learning, professional activity, and cultural expression in the Dominican Republic and for the world.