The Columbus "Lighthouse" is not really a lighthouse but a huge building which defies logic. If you would fly over it, you would see a "Catholic" cross. It's been build during the Trujillo dictatorship and only finished later under the Balaguer "regime" (Balaguer was democratically elected but had a history of power under Trujillo). The building is what was meant to be "modern" and avant-garde in those time... and thus bears a very dated "third world monument" look and feeling. It's suggested to be Columbus' mausoleum... but really there are doubts about Columbus' remains and Cuba claims to "have" him.
The monument ("El Monumento" as they call it locally" is now surrounded by "barrios" which are not recommendable to the not well DR-traveled tourist. The monument itself, can be safe and guarded during day time, but I would advise against roaming out from there.
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