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Santo Cerro

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Northeast of La Vega, Santo Cerro is one of the holiest sites in the country, home to the church Santuario Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes. The legend says that during a battle with the indigenous Taino, Christopher Columbus placed a cross on a hilltop beside the church and when the Taino tried to attack it, Our Lady of Mercedes Virgin Mary, patron saint of the DR, appeared before them and scared them away. Santo Cerro is now the site of an annual pilgrimage on September 24, when Dominicans from around the country flock here to pay tribute to the nation’s patron saint. Head to the open-air terrace at the back of the church and walk the steps towards Santo Cerro’s symbolic, 14-meter (46-foot) high cross towering over the Cibao Valley and boasting spectacular panoramic views over the surrounding mountains.

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