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    Amber MuseumAmber Museum Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic
    The Amber World Museum was created by Jorge Caridad, the founder and president of the Amber factory AMBASA, and in 1996, it would be inaugurated with the celebration of the fifth centennial of the founding of the city of Santo Domingo in 1496. The museum houses the historical and scientific information about the creation of amber, the plants and animals of the period that would become fossilized in the amber and everything that pertains to it and the characteristics of the gem. Every piece of amber that sits in the cabinets, dioramas, on the panels, in the big field microscopes, interactive technology and audio-visuals have been designed in such a way that you will imagine yourself transported back in time to the origins of this precious gemstone. The museum houses a wonderful workshop where you can learn to appreciate the works of expert craftsmen as the create the fabulous amber jewelry that comes mounted in silver and gold; and can be obtained in their luxurious boutique that also carries books and scientific information about the amber.  Amber is a hardened tree resin that is composed of alcohols, esters and terpenes, and is produced when trees would make it to protect themselves from insect infestation and diseases when the bark of a tree would be opened like when a branch broke off or attacks by wood boring beetles and other reasons. After it had oozed out, it would harden into wet sediments, like the clay and sand that formed at the bottom of lagoons and river deltas and would then become preserved in the earth's crust for millions of years. Amber can be found in many areas of the earth, but the biggest deposits are mined in some twenty areas of the world, but mostly in eastern Europe in the Baltic region, Mexico and the Dominican Republic, which is famous for its diversity of the inclusions found in it. The occurrence of insects in the Dominican amber is actually ten times greater than that in the Baltic amber, and it is also 90% more transparent. But perhaps, the most significant fact about the Dominican amber is that it comes in more colors here than anywhere else in the world, with light yellows, extremely rare smoky green, deep reds and a blue.

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    Fort San FelipeFort San Felipe Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic
    is also known as Fortaleza San Felipe in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic and is a historical Spanish fortress that is also called El Mooro de San Felipe that had been used to protect the city from pirates and corsairs, situated on a hilltop at the Puntilla del Malecon that looks out over the Atlantic Ocean. It was strategically built to protect the entrance to the city's harbor and commissioned by King Felipe II of Spain in 1564, and finished in 1577 by Don Rengifo de Angulo, the fort's mayor. Presently, the fort is a museum that shows the importance of this fort in the history of the city, as well as the nation, and houses relics from the 18th and 19th centuries. There were a number of land battles fought here, in the Quasi War against the United States in 1800, and then the Battle of Puerto Plata Harbor, where North American forces would defeat French and Spanish forces. It has been used in the past as a prison, when Pedro Santana would jail one of the founding father, Juan Pablo Duarte, but converted into a museum in 1965, getting a major overhaul in 1972, and opening as a museum in 1983. It is the last remnant of the 16th century in the city, since everything else from that period had been destroyed in the fighting or fires during the War of Restoration.

May 6, 2011