San Jose

San Jose is the capital and largest city of Costa Rica. It is also the capital of the San José Province. San José is located in the center of the country at 9°56′N 84°5′W; it is on a mountain plateau at an elevation of about 1,170 meters (3,839 feet) above sea level.

According to the 2000 census, the city had a population of 309,672 people in San José Canton: the latter half of the 20th century was a period of rapid growth for the city, considering that in 1950 its population was a mere 86,900. The metropolitan area of San José exceeds the canton limits and surpasses 2.5 million inhabitants.

San José was a small village of little significance until 1824. In that year, Costa Rica's first elected head of state, liberal Juan Mora Fernández, decided to move the government of Costa Rica from the old Spanish colonial capital of Cartago and make a fresh start with a new city. This was a time of much optimism in the newly independent nation of Central America, of which Costa Rica was at that time a state. The new capital of San José grew rapidly, extending into the Central Valley. Because of its late 18th century origin, San José has little of the Spanish colonial architecture common in most other Latin American capitals. On August 9, 1884, San Jose became the first city in Latin America illuminated by electric energy.

The University of Costa Rica was established here in 1843, in that time with the name of "University of Santo Tomás." San José also serves as the headquarters of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. The city is served by Juan Santamaría International Airport, 23 km west of downtown, near Alajuela.

Important places in the city include the Banco Central de Costa Rica building, the Banco Nacional building (much taller than other buildings nearby, giving the city its particular skyline), La Sabana Metropolitan Park, Avenida Central (a pedestrian thoroughfare and one of the major commercial areas in the city). The Central Park and the Plaza de la Cultura are visited by thousands of workers and tourists every day. The Teatro Nacional de Costa Rica (National Theatre of Costa Rica), Melico Salazar Theater, and the Cathedral are other landmarks in the central area. In the south, the Clínica Bíblica (a private hospital) and the Pacific Train Station are important buildings.

 

JOURNEYS trips that include San Jose:

Costa Rica Natural Wonders for Families

Costa Rica Tropical Treasures

Costa Rica Tropical Treasures and More

 

Information based on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Jos%C3%A9%2C_Costa_Rica

 

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