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Cartago, the old metropolis

Cartago has a centennial historical past. This place was an important town during colonial times, the main city, Cartago, was the Costa Rican capital from 1574 to 1824. That’s why we call it the old metropolis.

Lamentably, its past left a little material trace, because some earthquakes destroyed the city, mainly the Santa Mónica earthquake, which occurred in 1910.

Among the oldest buildings are the Ruinas de Santiago Apóstol, certainly one of the places that most identifies the Cartago city. This church was built when the earthquake of 1910 occurred, it had several damages, so the people decided to abandon it like this.

Likewise, other important heritage is Ruinas de Ujarrás, it was a church in the Ujarrás Valley, also abandon when the town was transferred to another site. Near to this place is the Iglesia San José in Orosi Valley, a Franciscan church that is 277 years old and is still in use.

The particularity of Cartago is the architecture of some buildings from beginning of XIX century like Casa de la Cultura, the old municipal library, Club Social, and the churches María Auxiliadora and Basílica de los Ángeles.

It stands out that, the most visited church in the country is in Cartago, the National Sanctuary Nuestra Señora de Los Ángeles, where each August 2, around 2 million of pilgrims arrive to pray.

From pre-Columbian times, Cartago also has heritage, in Turrialba is Guayabo National Monument, the most important archeological site in the country where visitors can see trails, bridges, water systems and homes that have 3000 years old. As the rest of the country, this province has natural beauty such as Irazú Volcano National Park which is one of the highest peaks in the province. It is near to the active Turrialba Volcano. Adventurers can hike or ride a bike between volcanoes.

San José






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