Sitting in stark contrast to the traditional Dominican architecture, the purpose-built village of Altos de Chavon in La Romana was designed by a Hollywood set designer to look like a medieval village from halfway across the world using the stones of a blasted mountain.
Founded in 1976, after an executive from Paramount Pictures learned of a road in the area that had to be forged through a portion of a mountain. His idea was to use the leftover stones from the demolition of the mountain to recreate an entire village that would celebrate the artisans of the Dominican Republic. It took six years to be completed but thanks to the efforts of a small army of regional artisans, the village was handcrafted using era-appropriate techniques including woodworking and stone-cutting, to make it as authentic as possible.
The jewels of the village include a scenic historic church and a wide stone amphitheater that can seat around 5,000 visitors. There is also an art school located in the hilltop village devoted to making sure a new era of artists and artisans will continue to come out of the area.
Despite being a completely fabricated village, the authentic artistry on display in the verdant settlement makes stepping into Altos de Chavron like stepping back into medieval times. Or at least watching a movie about them.