Porta Coeli (Puerto Rico)

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Convento de Porta Coeli
Porta Coeli in San Germán (Puerto Rico).jpg
Porta Coeli Church - San Germán, Puerto Rico
LocationPlaza Porta Coeli, San Germán, Puerto Rico
Coordinates18°04′55″N 67°02′28″W / 18.082002°N 67.041002°W / 18.082002; -67.041002Coordinates: 18°04′55″N 67°02′28″W / 18.082002°N 67.041002°W / 18.082002; -67.041002
Part ofSan Germán Historic District[2] (#94000084)
NRHP reference #76002252[1]
Added to NRHPSeptember 8, 1976
Altar of Porta Coeli Church, with the Virgin Mary in the top center

Porta Coeli ("Gateway to Heaven") Convent church, or El Convento de Santo Domingo de Porta Coeli in Spanish, is one of the oldest church structures in the western hemisphere, located in San Germán, Puerto Rico.


In 1609, the Dominican Order built the Convento de Porta Coeli at the crest of a hill in what is now San Germán Historic District. During the 18th century the Convento was reconstructed and a church built next to it. The single nave church was constructed of rubble masonry with stucco surfaced walls and a wood truss roof.[3]

In 1949 Ubaldino Ramírez de Arellano, Monseñor Mac Manus, Bishop of Ponce, Senator Santiago R. Palmer and others arranged for the church of Porta Coeli in San German to be sold to the Government of Puerto Rico for a dollar so that it would be responsible for its safekeeping and preservation.[4]

After restoration by the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture, the church now houses the Museo de Arte Religioso. This is a museum of religious paintings and wooden carvings dating from the 18th and 19th centuries. The building was listed in 1976 on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places as "Convento de Porta Coeli".


There is also a Porta Coeli cemetery in Puerto Rico. Located in Bayamon, it is the resting grounds, among others, of Luis Aguad Jorge, a Cuban actor who became famous in Puerto Rico as the enanito de Holsum, or Holsum (bread)'s dwarf.[5]


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2009-03-13.
  2. ^ González Mendoza, Juan R.; Vega Lubo, Ramonita; García Goyco, Osvaldo; Maza, Doris (September 1993), National Register of Historic Places Registration Form: San Germán Historic District (PDF), retrieved February 2, 2016.
  3. ^ "Convento de Porta Coeli". Historic Places in Puerto Rico . National Park Service. Retrieved 2009-05-25.
  4. ^ Capilla de Santo Domingo de Porta Coeli. Luis M. Iriarte R. Archived from the original on November 9, 2001. Retrieved July 10, 2010. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  5. ^ "Enanito de Holsum", Primera Hora

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