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
Location Plaza Porta Coeli, San Germán, Puerto Rico
Coordinates 18°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
Built 1609
Part of San Germán Historic District[2] (#94000084)
NRHP Reference # 76002252[1]
Added to NRHP September 8, 1976
Altar of Porta Coeli Church

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 achieved that for a dollar the church of Porta Coeli in San German be sold to the Government of Puerto Rico so that it be responsible for its safekeeping and preservation.[4]

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


There is also a Porta Coeli cemetery in Puerto Rico; this one is located in Bayamon and 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 Park Service (2009-03-13). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  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. Retrieved July 10, 2010. 
  5. ^ http://www.primerahora.com/entretenimiento/farandula/nota/falleceelenanitoholsum-125977/

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