ALTOS DE CHAVÓN
Altos de Chavón, In 1976, Charles Bludhorn, the executive chairman of Paramount pictures (formerly Gulf + Western) had a creative idea. This idea was to use leftover stones from a nearby road/bridge building project to recreate a sixteenth-century Mediterranean styled village. This village was finally completed six years later in 1982 using backward technology to keep true to the era and was headed by Dominican architect Jose Antonio Caro and Italian designer and cinematographer Roberto Coppa and their teams.
Altos de Chavón is located in La Ramona, Dominican Republic and overlooks the Chavón River, Dye Fore golf course, and the surrounding landscape. It was intended to become a cultural hub for artists from near and far to showcase their talent on the streets and in the Art Galleries. These talents include pottery, silk screening, painting, weaving, sculpting, etc. The village also houses a variety of jewelry, craft and cigar shops, and restaurants who specialize in cuisine not only native to the Dominican Republic but from across the world. The Altos de Chavón Archaeological Museum is also popular among tourists who wish to see European, African and Taino artifacts.
Altos de Chavón is also home to an open-air Roman-style amphitheater with a seating capacity of up to 5000 persons. Here, guests are entertained by singers and dancers at one of the many live shows. International acts
such as Frank Sinatra, Shakira, Elton John, Julio Iglesias, Air Supply, and Sting have all graced the stage of the amphitheater.
Another popular attraction of Altos de Chavón is Iglesia San Estanislao de Cracovia’ or ‘St. Stanislaus Church’. The church was consecrated in 1979 by Pope John Paul II who sent the ashes of the saint of Poland for which it was named to commemorate the event. Saint Stanislaus Church has since become a popular place of worship and hosts many weddings and other Christian ceremonies.
The Altos de Chavón School of Design or La Escuela de Diseño is also located on-site and affords students the opportunity to enhance their talents in a multicultural environment which houses teachers and students from across the world. The school is an affiliate of the Parsons School of Design in New York City where students are able to study graphic design, interior design, fine arts/illustration and fashion design and upon graduation pursue higher education or careers.
Though Altos de Chavón was created and not naturally developed, it will forever be a historical site because of its undisputable contribution to art and culture in the Dominican Republic.