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La Romana, Dominican Republic
The biggest attraction in La Romana, Dominican Republic, is Altos de Chavón, a re-creation of a medieval European village conceived from the imagination of Roberto Copa, a former Paramount Pictures set designer, and Charles Bluhdorn. Its construction began in 1976 when the construction of a nearby road and bridge crossing the Chavón River had to be blasted through a mountain of stone. Charles Bludhorn, chairman of Paramount then=parent Gulf+Western, had the idea of using the stones to build a sixteenth century Mediterranean village. Construction was completed in the early 1980s.
Charles Bluhdorn's daughter, Dominique Bluhdorn, is the current president of the Altos de Chavón Cultural Center Foundation. Narrow, cobble-covered alleyways lined with lanterns and shuttered limestone walls yield several good Mediterranean-style restaurants, a number of quaint shops featuring the diverse craftwork of local artisans, and three galleries exhibiting the talents of students from the on-site design school (La Escuela de Diseño, an affiliate of Parsons School of Design in New York City). Notable attendees of the Altos de Chavón Design School have included Lisa Thon and Mía Lourdes Taveras López.
Adding authenticity to the entire fantasy is the charming St. Stanislaus Church (Iglesia San Estanislao de Cracovia in Spanish) with its plaza and sparkling fountain that is a popular wedding venue. The Church of St Stanislaus was named after the patron saint of Poland in tribute to Pope John Paul II, who visited Santo Domingo in 1979 and left some of the saint's ashes behind. It was in this church that Louis Alphonse, Duke of Anjou married Venezuelan heiress Maria Margarita de Vargas y Santaella on November 6, 2004.
A Roman-styled 5,000-seat amphitheater hosts 20th century musical acts—The Pet Shop Boys, Frank Sinatra, and Julio Iglesias to name a few—while Génesis nightclub provides a popular dance venue for guests from the Casa de Campo resort nearby. Visitors shouldn’t miss the Regional Museum of Archaeology (El Museo Arqueológico Regional), an astonishing collection of pre-Columbian Indian artifacts unearthed in the surrounding area.
Altos de Chavón overlooks Rio Chavón and the Dye Fore golf course of Casa De Campo; both built by former Gulf+Western chairman Charles Bluhdorn. There are rumorss that Apocalypse Now was filmed on the Rio Chavón, although the movie was actually filmed in the Philippines. To Have Access to Altos de Chavon, there is an entrance Fee of US$25.00 per person, no tour guide included.
Notable events held at the Altos de Chavón Amphitheater
- August, 1982: Concert for the Americas, inaugural concert, performers included Frank Sinatra with Buddy Rich, Heart and Santana
- 1992: Toque Profundo performed at the "Rock Sobre Las Piedras"
- April 7, 2001 Duran Duran Sold Out concert produced by Pedro Garcia.
- December 14, 2002: Luis Miguel performs the final show of his Mis Romances Tour
- September 2004: Alicia Keys films part of her video for Karma
- October 30, 2004: The Pet Shop Boys
- March 27, 2005: The Skip Festival with Alphaville, Kansas and Air Supply
- March 25, 2006: Aventura records a sold out show which becomes one of the DVDs shipped with K.O.B. Live
- April 26, 2006: Juan Luis Guerra was invited to sing Fragile with Sting on the Broken Music tour
- March 31, 2007: Julio Iglesias
- July 14, 2007: Erasure performs a concert on their Light at the End of the World Live tour
- April 30, 2009: Andrea Bocelli Performs a concert of his Incanto Tour
- May 29, 2010: Induction ceremony for the inaugural class of the Latino Baseball Hall of Fame
- April 30, 2011: Duran Duran - All You Need Is Now Tour produced by Pedro Garcia.
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