Puerto Rico Things to Do GuideSan German Puerto Rico ⏐ Porta Coeli Church Museum 

Porta Coeli - San German, Puerto Rico

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Porta Coeli “Doorway to Heaven”, was originally a convent and a school El Convento de Santo Domingo de Porta Coeli. This church is the most famous attraction in the town of San German, one of the oldest churches in the Americas, and the oldest church under the United States jurisdiction.

Porta Coeli - San German, Puerto Rico

The museum’s art collection includes wood statues of Santos (saints), paintings, sculptures, and images with history excerpts.  Among the sculptures is 17th century St. Nicholas de Bari, 17th century Saint Tomas de Aquino, 19th-century Señora de la Monserrate Black Madonna, and Child. Other museum pieces include choral books, primitive carvings, and more.

A Little History

Porta Coeli - San German, Puerto Rico

When the town of San German was established on September 18, 1531, Empress Isabel, issued a decree whereby 200 decats be given to the Dominican priest in order to help to build a monastery for their Order in the Town of San German.  The original building was ruined by the attack of the French and Caribs, by 1544 only a dwelling of boards and 2 friars were left.  The building that was originally built in 1609 had to be demolished in 1874 because of the abandoned conditions.

In 1949, Monsignor McManus, the bishop of Ponce transferred the property to the Department of Public Works, and the restoration was completed by the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture, work was finalized by 1960 and was turned into a religious museum with religious art from XVI to the XIX centuries.  The style of Porta Coeli is northern Spanish Romanesque with rubble masonry and stucco surfaced walls and a beautiful wood truss roof.  For many years the church was painted a bright orange, recently the stucco walls were repainted to white, its original color.

Porta Coeli Museum Hours & Contact Info

  • Telephone: 787-892-5845   Museums & Parks Program Tel #: 787-977-2702 / 787-723-7837
  • E-Mail: museosyparques@icp.gobierno.pr
  • Museum Hours:  Wednesday – Sunday from 8:00 a.m. –  12:00 p.m. & 1:00 p.m. – 4:30 pm – Call before visiting just in case hours have changed.

Map of Porta Coeli Museum & Directions

Location: Porta Coeli is located in the corner of Ramas and Dr. Santiago Veve Streets in San German

From Mayaguez to San German – Drive east on Rt. 2, from Mayaguez, take the exit towards San German 122, then turn right into Avenida Universidad Interamericana (102), then turn right into Calle Rama, lastly take the 1st right onto Calle Santiago Veve Plaza, Porta Coeli will be on your left.

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Puerto Rico Things to Do GuideSan German Puerto Rico ⏐ Porta Coeli Church Museum