Historical walks
through Heredia

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Historical walks through Heredia

The founding of what would be the city Heredia began in 1706 when a group of immigrants from the city of Cartago built the Ayuda Parroquia chapel between Lagunilla and Barreal in an area known as Alvirilla. Afterwards, in 1714, the chapel was moved north to the site the native peoples called Cubujuqui. Finally, in 1734, the chapel was set up under the name The Immaculate Conception of Cubujuqui.

In 1752, Monsignor Pedro Agustin Morel de Santa Cruz, the bishop of Nicaragua and Costa Rica, set up the first school in Cubujuqui under the supervision of the priest. At that time, the population was made up of 24 adobe houses and 79 straw houses, with an estimated 460 inhabitants. The adobe houses belonged to the Spaniards and the rest belonged to the mestizos and native inhabitants.

The name, Heredia, came about in 1763 when the area was granted the title of ¨town¨ by the president of the Royal Court in Guatemala, Alonso Fernandez de Heredia, who also decided to name the town with his family name.

In 1821, when Costa Rica became independent, the town of Heredia had a population of 2,000 inhabitants. Three years later, on November 11, 1824, the Chief of State Juan Mora Fernandez claimed it as a city.

Toward the end of the 19th century, coffee cultivation grew throughout all sectors of the Province of Heredia, which led to an increase in the population and its development as a city.

1- La Inmaculada Concepcion Parish

In 1736, the parish of the Immaculate Conception of Cubujuqui (the original name of the city of Heredia) was built, originally of straw. In 1797, construction began in stone and limestone, with wide and earthquake resistant walls, Roman style columns, high vaulted ceilings, marble floors and Doric columns. It had an altar of gold slabs with gold candelabras, a sculpture of the soldier San Pedro, another of the Heredian architect and sculptor, Fadrique Gutierrez in the facade, and 20 beautifully designed stained glass windows created in France. The church also offers spacious gardens, a baptistery and a beautifully adorned parish room.

The north tower features a clock and the south towers houses four bells installed between 1802 and 1908. An earthquake damaged part of the structure in 1851, but it was restored by the German engineer Francisco Kurtze. The style is Romanesque and has eight buttresses that help mitigate the impact of tremors. The roof of the temple is tile.
Declared a National Monument on May 31, 1973.

Located on 0 and 2nd Avenue, 0 and 1st Streets.

2- Nicolas Ulloa Soto Central Park

This area started out as a main plaza for the colonial citizens where products were bought and sold and popular festivals were held every year.

In 1885, a fountain with three iron plates was installed, imported from England to inaugurate the creation of Heredia´s water and sewer irrigation system. In 1885, the engineer Manuel Dengo designed the concrete pond and Eulalio Gonzalez Cespedes and Nicolas Hernandez built it. In 1905, the artisan Pablo Lepiz built the first kiosk from wood. It was taken down in 1939 and replaced in 1940 with another made of concrete and designed by the architect Jose Maria Barrantes. On July 8, 1958, the park was named after the Heredian benefactor Nicolas Ulloa Soto.

It was declared a historical and cultural heritage site on October 13, 1994.

Located on 0 and 2nd Avenue, 0 and 2nd Streets.


1 - Juan Rafael Chacon Solares

Juan Rafael Chacon (1894-1982) understudied and began his career as a sculptor when he was a child in the shop of Jose Zamora. There he learned about Latin American-style techniques. In 1917, he participated in the Art, Industry and Commerce Exposition where he won over the revered Juan Ramon Bonilla who helped him earn an official scholarship to travel to Europe. In Barcelona, he worked in the shop of the Masterful Jose Arguyol. He returned to Costa Rica in 1924 and a short time later he started working in Manuel Zuñiga’s shop where he met Juan Manuel Sanchez and Francisco Zuñiga. In 1946, he sculpted in stone a bust in honor of his deceased friend Antonio Zelaya, which was an important creation in the history of Costa Rican art due to the fact that up until then, monuments were always made from bronze. In 1962, he was granted the National Aquileo J. Echeverria Award and in 1971 the Magon. The sculptor Jorge Benavides Montero sculpted a bust in his memory. Almost two feet in height, it was created from stone and displayed in 1989 in Central Park.

Located on 2nd Avenue, 0 Street.

2- Aquileo J. Echeverria Zeledon

Aquileo J. Echeverria (1866-1909) began to work as a journalist and was able to publish the first writings of poetry, chronicles and stories in La Republica, El Comercio and Costa Rica Ilustrada (The Republic, The Commerce and Costa Rica Illustrated). In his writings, he describes the rural people at the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century with cunning, humor, simplicity and spontaneity. In El Salvador, he worked with Ruben Dario at the newspaper, La Union. Between 1903 and 1905, he published his first collection of verses, Romances y Concherias (Romances and Traditional Tales).

Because of his efforts in the development of Costa Rican literary art, on October 29, 1953, the Congress recognized him with the distinguished National Letters. On November 24, 1961 the Aquileo J. Echeverria Award was established, which would be granted annually to a deserved literary work. On April 4, 1937 a commemorative monolith was created by the Portuguese brothers of marble and measuring some 6 feet in height.

Located on 0 Avenue, 0 Street.

3 - Nicolas Ulloa Soto

Nicolas Ulloa (1799-1864) a politician, businessman and coffee plantation owner in Heredia, was one of the leaders who brought about the Ochomongo War of 1823 where the cities of Cartago and Heredia faced off in a military confrontation with San Jose and Alajuela.

Likewise, in 1835, he was a key player in the La Liga War. When three of these cities failed to recognize both San Jose as the capital as well as the Braulio Carrillo administration, he named Nicolas Ulloa as the Chief of State. The outrage which followed led him to exile in Los Montes del Aguacate, an embargo of his goods, and he was charged with the costs of the war. Some time later he was named an official of the Congress. In Heredia, he was named as the promoter of cultural development, leading to the creation of the Padre Paul School and the first military band in the country.

The sculptor Olger Villegas Cruz created a bust in his memory. A little over two feet in height, it was made from bronze and was first displayed in Central Park in 1999.

Located on 0 and 2nd Avenue, 0 and 2nd Streets.

3- Republic of Argentina School

A neoclassical architectural work, it was designed by Leon Tessier and supervised by Joaquin Lizano and built between 1888 and 1895. The walls are made of masonry brick and chalk with rope helping to join the lime and sand mortar. This is the first building constructed in Heredia, which was modern and symbolized the education reform that arose in the era of Sir Mauro Fernandez Acuña in 1886.

Here, classes were provided to students from the Normal School in Heredia from 1915 to 1938 and later became the Apprenticeship School for future teachers to practice their trade under the supervision of tutors.
In 1982, there was a fall in enrollment and the school was then converted into the Regional Education Department of Heredia.
It was declared a historical and architectural heritage site on May 19, 1987.

Located on 0 Avenue, 2nd Street.

4- The Old Match Factory

In the 1940s, Jose Gamboa Alvarado built a match factory in the City of Heredia in Art Deco style with a warehouse and offices. The brand was known as Aguila y Campeon, and the matches were packaged in little wooden match boxes and wrapped in blue paper. In the middle of the 1960s, the factory was moved to what is currently Paseo de las Flores to a building with more space and eventually closed in the 1980s. The old location was converted into the S.A. Richard Nixon Language School, as a secretarial school, and in 1995 it became the headquarters for the Science and Arts University of Costa Rica.

Located on 0 Avenue, 4th Street.

5- Joaquin Lizano Gutierrez School

This lime and brick building was constructed near the end of the 19th century during the Rafael Iglesias Castro administration. The large windows are framed by a medium point arch in a guillotine style and there are decorative finishes on the facade. Overall, it is a handsome, symmetrical building.

The school came about in Heredia as a result of the education reform of the 1880s, headed by Mauro Fernandez and Bernardo Soto. Its name comes from Sir Joaquin Lizano Gutierrez, a distinguished Heredian politician who occupied various posts including governor, senator, Tax Minister and also temporarily played a role in the presidency during the General Tomas Guardia Administration.

It was declared a historical and architectural heritage site on May 28, 1992.

Located on 1st Avenue, 2nd Street.

6- Domingo Gonzalez Perez Home

Constructed more than 150 years ago, this one story house displays thick adobe and bahareque walls as well as unique historic

techniques and construction materials. Because of its antiquity it has no driveway or sidewalk.

The walls of the facade are made from adobe, the windows are guillotine style, the floor tile is made from mud and it features an old fashion tile roof.

It is part of a group of urban historical landmarks and takes up a quarter of the block because of its layout, which dates back to the Spanish design for creating cities.

It was declared a historical and architectural national heritage site of Cost Rica on January 26, 2000.

Located on 2nd Street, 1st Avenue.

7- Government, Mail and Telegraph Building

The government of Ricardo Jimenez Oreamuno (1910-1914), set out to introduce to the country public buildings that were modern and safe. In 1912, he signed a deal with the English Construction Company to construct a building in the City of Heredia as the headquarters for the Government, Mail and Telegraph.

Construction began in May of 1914 and was completed in July, 1915. It was built according to neoclassical design by the architect Wenceslao de la Guardia and was supervised by the engineer Manuel Benavides. The first governor to occupy the building was Luis Rafael Flores. It has belonged to the City of Heredia since 2004.

It was declared a historical heritage site on May 10, 1982.

Located on Central Street, Central Avenue and 1st Avenue.

8- Municipal Palace

The first town council building was made of adobe with tiles and was located in the area that is currently home to the amphitheater and fort in Heredia. In 1790, it was torn down and a new council building was raised in its place, larger and leading from a front corridor that faces the main plaza. This one was also made of adobe with a wide open central patio, offices and even a place for a jail. In 1870 the municipal offices moved again to a larger building.

From 1908 to 1940, this building continued functioning as a military bunker. In 1940, the building was remodeled in order to install the first branch of the National Bank of Heredia. In 1954, it was converted to the Republic of Argentina Kindergarten School and after that into the Rafael Moya School. During the Rodrigo Carazo Odio administration (1978-1982), it was remodeled again and converted into the headquarters of the City of Heredia. Currently, it is the headquarters of the City Police and Session Room for the City of Heredia Council.

Located on 0 Avenue, 0 and 2nd Street.


In 1863, Fadrique Gutierrez inspired by the Juan Lorenzo Bernini Four Rivers Fountain, created a commemorative fountain for the city reserve tanks of the City of Heredia, whose central figure was Neptune on a horse. The figure was created in granite and is accompanied by a group of nymphs. The sculpture as a whole was destroyed with only Neptune being left intact. Currently, it is located in the one of the corridors that is part of the Muncipal Palaceof Heredia.

Located on 0 Avenue, 0 and 2nd Street.

9- The Fort (El Fortin)

Constructed in 1876, it was designed and constructed by the commanding officer of the city´s plaza, Fadrique Gutierrez (1844-1897), a skilled drawer and sculptor. This tower construction, measuring 42 feet in height, is a symbol of the City of Heredia. The project originally included three towers that were never constructed.

It was initially thought that Fadrique Gutierrez mistakenly designed the portholes in reverse, however it was designed like that on purpose because in that era, bullets were made of lead and not steel.

The neoclassical style Fort has been repaired in both 1967 and 1981 to firm up the cylindrical base of the tower. It has three levels. The first has a square base made of solid stone, and the brick was only used to frame the portholes and the doors. The second level is made of brick and has a cylindrical shape with four thin portholes placed in an alternating manner, but in the corners there are larger portholes. The third level has an octagonal shape with clover shape skylights as well as a balcony at the top.

Declared a National Monument on November 2, 1974 and on September of 1992, it was granted the title of the symbol of the City of Heredia.

Located on Central Avenue and Central Street.

Fadrique Gutierrez Lopez (1841-1897)

A multifaceted personality, Lopez was a military man, an inventor, sculptor, painter, and designer, as well as building constructor. The Fort being one of his projects.

When he was just a teenager, he had created sculptures that adorned the city pond, located on the northeast side of the city (1865-1866).From there he went on to create the Neptune statue found in the Municipal Palace. He also created two sculptures of saints that stand out on the upper sides of the facade of the Carmen church, and others that were located in the facade of the parish and of which, only Saint Peter remains. Lopez became governor of Alajuela in 1884 and in 1885 he took over as Commanding Chief of the Plaza; with the death of Prospero Fernandez, president and personal friend (1885), Bernardo Soto took over. Then, Lopez attempted to give a coup d'etat.

Exiled from the country for eight years, Lopez migrated to El Salvador where he held important government positions. He was pardoned in 1888 and returned to Costa Rica, living out his last years in Esparza.

Located on 0 Avenue and 0 Street.

The Volunteer

The Volunteerism Movement came about in 1864 when the Red Cross and Half Red Moon organizations came into existence. The Volunteers went to where suffering existed and worked on developing a model society where solidarity and human dignity took precedence. May 8 of every year is dedicated to Volunteer Day, since this day coincides with the anniversary of the birth of Jean Henri Dunant (1828-1910), the founder of the movement. The sculptor Guillermo Hernandez dedicated a sculpture in homage to the volunteer. It was sculpted in bronze and measures 3 feet in height and was inaugurated in 1988.

Located on 0 Avenue, 0 Street.

10- Heredia Culture House (Alfredo Gonzalez Flores Home)

In 1972, Pedro Antonio Solares, who originated from Asturias, Spain, constructed his house in adobe with wide square corridors that faced the main plaza. At the end of the 19th century, it was taken over by Domingo Gonzalez Perez who then handed it down to his son Alfredo Gonzalez Flores, the twenty-first president of Costa Rica (1914-1917) who lived there until his death in 1962.

In 1974, during the presidential administration of Daniel Oduber Quiros, the house was again taken over and converted into the Cultural House. It is now a historical and cultural Costa Rican heritage site.

It is now used to exhibit works of art, contemplation meetings and training. It is also used for expositions, concerts, dance and theater productions, as well as other artistic and creative activities.
It was declared a national monument in December of 1974.

Located on 0 Street and 0 Avenue.

11- Nicolas Ulloa Soto Historical House

This building was initially created as a large adobe and bahareque house, built in 1792 by Pedro Antonio Solares. However, with his death in 1824, the house was divided in two parts. In 1870, the heirs of the Ulloa family rented the property and in 1875, it was sold to the city, which became its headquarters until 1915. In 1916, it was converted to the Nicolas Ulloa School. Since 1938 it has had various owners.

It was declared and developed as a historical and architectural heritage site in Costa Rica on November 13, 2002.

Located on 0 Avenue, 0 and 1st Street.

The Mother

The sculptor Miguel A. Brenes Paniagua created a bronce, 5 feet tall sculpture of a mother waiting with open arms for the arrival of her little son. This tender statue was inaugurated in 1988 in the alternate headquarters of the Municipal Palace of Heredia.

Located on 0 Avenue, 1st Street.

12- Heredia High School

The High School of Heredia, established on August 15, 1870 and initially owned by the Panamanian Dr. Jose Domingo de Obaldia, was closed due to budget restrictions and was re-opened in 1875 under the name San Agustin High School. This event was repeated on various occasions until, at the request of the community, the government and the city took over a 2 floor historical house and this historical house was built in 1882.

In 1914, a new building was constructed made of French bahareque walls and a facade made of re-enforced concrete, based on the design of the engineer Jose Fabio Garnier Ugalde. A year later, the Alfred Gonzalez Flores government took over the school and moved it to the Normal School of Costa Rica. The purpose was to train teachers. In 1951, it was re-established as the High School of Heredia.

It was declared a historical and cultural national monument on August 4, 1977.

Located on Central Avenue, 1st and 3rd Street.

1- Our Lady of the Angels Church

At the beginning of the 1950s, the neighborhood came together to buy the property in order to convert it into a Catholic church.
In 1955, the brick construction was completed based on the Art Deco design of the architect Jose Maria Barrantes Monge, who was inspired by the Notre Dame de Raincy Church in Paris by the architect Augusto Perret.

In 1959, the tower was completed and in 1964, a part of it was finished in ornamental brick. In 1960, with the help of the priest Rafael Vargas the church was dedicated as a parish. In addition, Vargas decided to increase the capacity of the temple southward by some 36 feet and raise the walls some 5 feet. Barrantes was in charge of the project and designed the re-enforced concrete dome. The man in charge of building it was Domingo Borbon. In 1963, Gonzalo Viquez and Liliam Sanchez donated cedar wood for the ceiling. In 1970, a three-faced clock tower was installed with two bells from Germany called Carlos Humberto Rodriguez Quiros and Our Lady of the Angels. In 1983, a stone altar was created for baptisms, a holy chapel and multi-colored stained glass windows.

Located on 8th Avenue, 6th Street.

2- Heredia City Market

In 1886, a contract was drawn up with Silas Wright Hastins to build a permanent market. The project was led by the engineer, Juan de Jongh from Holland and the project was supervised by Joaquin Lizano Gutierrez. It was on June 23, 1889.
Initially, the construction was designed with high and wide halls, made of bronze and covered with sheets of galvanized bronze. In 1926, the city demolished the building and in 1929 erected the building that stands today, under the supervision of Governor Luis Flores.

The fires of 1978 and 2003 damaged much of the structure, creating the need for drastic modifications.

It was declared a historical and architectural heritage site on June 12, 2003.

Located between 6th and 8th Avenue, 2nd and 4th Street.

3- Train Station

On August 6, 1872, the first locomotive arrived in the city. At the request of community residents, the terminal was moved three years later toward the center of the city. The design of the new train station was developed by the engineer Luis Matamoros and was built by the architect David Clark. In 1905, the Northern Railway Co., the owner of the railway, modified the original structure, adding warehouses.

The current structure reflects the architectural elements of the beginning of the 20th century, with four simple facades and masonry walls re-enforced with beams as well as iron columns covered with galvanized iron. There are various halls with frontal corridors and perimeter wings.

Declared a historical and architectural national monument of Costa Rica on September 16, 2003.

Located on Central and 2nd Street, between 8th and 10th Avenue.

4- Braulio Morales Cervantes School

The quarter of a block property is where the central school was constructed and donated by Braulio Morales Cervantes, a wealthy business man, coffee plantation owner, and politician of Heredia, who also undertook important developments that benefited the city. In 1876, Morales bought the land from Pascual Solorzano Sancho. The building was constructed in 1914 during the Alfredo Gonzalez Flores administration (1914-1917) by the English Construction Company, and based on the design of the architect Wenceslao de la Guardia and supervised by the engineer Manuel Benavides. It started as an adolescent girl’s school, but was later converted into school for boys and girls in 1970. In 1952, additional property was acquired for expansion.

Located on 8th Avenue, 0 Street.

5- Manuel Maria Gutierrez Park

In the 1830s, there was a public plaza located in front of the chapel dedicated to Our Mother of Carmen. It was used for selling goods and, during festivals, bull fights and circus performances were held here. It was also used for certain religious festivals.

In 1924, stemming from an initiative from Braulio Morales, the city invested its financial resources to transform the plaza into a park. In 1929, it was inaugurated as a park taking its name from the musician, Manuel Maria Gutierrez, on the 100 year anniversary of his birth. There is a contemporary iron fountain similar to that of the Central Park in Heredia. It is believed that it was imported from England in 1878.

Located on 4th Avenue, 3rd Street.

Manuel Maria Gutierrez

Manuel Maria Gutierrez (1829-1887), from a very young age, was a flautist in the San Jose Military Band. He then moved to Heredia and was a musician for the military band there, until he became the director at just 17 years of age.

In 1852, he was made the National General Band Director and in the same year he composed the music for the National Anthem upon request by the president of the Republic Juan Rafael Mora. Manuel Maria Gutierrez also organized bands all over the country and created important musical pieces including El Palacio (The Palace), a beautiful waltz composed in 1855 for the inauguration of the national palace. He took part in several battles during the National Campaign from 1856-1857 and during one of them he composed the famous marching piece Santa Rosa. The sculptor Juan Ramon Bonilla created a bust in his memory. It was made from bronze, measures some two feet in height and it was inaugurated in 1960.

Located on 4th Avenue, 3rd Street.

6- Leitona House

The historic house of Sir Jenaro Leiton (known as the ¨Leitona¨) is one of the few two floor bahareque homes located in the Carmen district. It occupies the land where the first Carmen church was built in 1820. The church was destroyed by an earthquake in early 1850s. The house was built in 1866 by Father Esteban Echeverri Ruiz, the priest of El Carmen from 1877 to 1884.

There were various changes in ownership and in the first half of the 20th century, it was acquired by Jenaro Leiton. Currently, it belongs to Adilia Maria Vargas Montero. On the second floor there are five iron railed balconies. It has a large entrance and a hallway that leads to the central patio.

It was declared and developed as historical and architectural heritage site of Costa Rica on March 8, 2005.

Located on 4th and 6th Avenue, 3rd Street.

7- Our Lady of Carmen Church

In February of 1823, the town priest Joaquin Carrillo announced to the city the need to help the Holy Mary of Carmen Parish and a church was built. In March 1851, an earthquake completely destroyed the building. Construction began on the new building by the bishop Llorente y La Fuente. It was inaugurated on July 16, 1874. The engineer Francisco Kurtze was in charge of the new neoclassical construction.

The current church, with a design similar to the one before, was built from 1944 to 1945, according to the design of engineer Samuel Saenz Flores.

At the two highest points of the facade, there are two statues of the saints Raimundo de Peñafort and San Simon Stock, created by Fadrique Gutierrez around 1873 while he was governor and commanding chief of the city of Heredia. The central tower behind the atrium has a dome that displays the famous clock created by Francisco Flores in 1899.

There are three naves that are separated by round fluted columns with wood beamed ceilings. There is also a false canon vault in the center. The ceilings and mosaics were brought from England. There is a pipe organ made by Cavaille Coll that was imported from France.

Located on 4th Avenue, 3rd Street.

8- The National University

On March 14, 1973, this building was inaugurated during the Jose Figueres Ferrer (1970-1974) administration thanks to the efforts of his predecessor, the Minister of Education, Uladislao Gamez Solano, under the slogan ¨A Necessary University.¨ It started out as a pedagogical school when it assumed the role of the historic Normal School of Costa Rica (1914), which was dedicated to training teachers and the Higher Level Normal School (1968) that was committed to training professors for higher level learning. The Normal Schools were located in Liberia, San Ramon and Perez Zeledon, which were regional branches of the new university. In the beginning, the UNA implemented a unique academic approach based on the Latin American philosophy of the Necessary University, led by its first chancellor Father Benjamin Nuñez Vargas.

Located on 2nd Avenue 9th Street.

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