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Cartago History, Costa Rica

Although the capital of Costa Rica is San Jose, the first capital of Costa Rica was Cartago. It was the capital of Costa Rica for 300 hundred years.

Nowadays it does not have the same city life that San Jose has, but Cartago has many beautiful buildings that have been conserved since its capital city days. It is more relaxed and it is known as holding many of the Costa Rican factories and manufacturers in the country. Going back a few centuries, this is how Cartago lost its power as being the capital of Costa Rica.

Costa Rica became independent from Spanish rule because of the Mexican Revolution in 1823. However, all Central American countries, including Costa Rica, fell under the rule of the First Mexican Empire. Costa Ricans that resided in the provinces of Alajuela and San Jose were furious by this decision while the residents in the capital city of Cartago and Heredia approved the decision to be united with the Mexican Empire. Due to this disagreement between the provinces, a civil war broke out predominantly between Cartago and San Jose for the power of the country’s future. The war was short lived but as a result, Cartago lost it.

In 1824, under the rule of Juan Mora Fernandez, the capital was moved to San Jose and Cartago lost many residents and future investments. Nowadays, Cartago is full of farmland and is much safer then the capital. If you ask a resident of Cartago about the loss of the civil war, they are grateful because today Cartago does not suffer from the same type of pollution as San Jose and it is much more quiet and tranquil.

Remains of Cartago’s greatness lay in the colonial buildings and surrounding area. Such historical places to see include the Central Park, the Basilica de Nuestra Senora de Los Angeles, Las Ruinas or the Ruins and more. In 1910, there was a devastating earthquake which ruined much of Cartago’s architecture from the colonial days. One such building which was destroyed was one of Cartago’s churches. The Church was being built for the second time. As it was nearing completion, the earthquake of 1920 destroyed the church again. This has given it a reputation for being haunted and it is now called the Ruins.

Besides its history within the city, Cartago has an exquisite landscape that has also seen many years of history being built and destroyed in the small city.

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