In the Hispanic world, many 'Rope-houses' exist. Commissioned by don Francisco de Garay in 1502, one of Christopher Columbus' companions on his first voyage, La Casa del Cordon in Santo Domingo was the first house built out of stone in the New World. Grand Admiral Diego Colon's son and wife Maria de Toledo lived there until the Alcazar de Colon was completed. This is where ladies of the court gathered in 1586 to give their jewels away as a ransom demanded by the English pirate Sir Francis Drake, for the liberation of the city, after it was ransacked. The name of the house comes from the symbol of the Franciscan order - a rope belt carved into the façade. Located on calle Isabel la Catolica street, opposite the telecom palace, La Casa del Cordon now houses the Dominican branch of a French bank. Do not hesitate, however, to push the sumptuous wooden door to see the treasures inside: a magnificent collection of colonial furniture and a pretty patio. The only drawback - photos are prohibited!