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San José, Costa Rica

September 24th, 2007 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places

San José (Spanish: San José;) is the capital and largest city of Costa Rica. Located in the centre of the country, sprawling across the Central Valley, the city is the seat of the government, the focal point of political and economic activity, as well as the major transportation hub of this Central American nation.

Founded in 1738, San José is one of the youngest capitals of Latin America by its year of foundation, though it was named capital until 1823. Nowadays it's a modern city with bustling commerce, brisk expressions of art and architecture, and spurred by the country's improved tourism industry, a significant destination and stopover for foreign visitors.

Officially, the city's current population is 346.799, inhabiting the area corresponding to San José Canton, the first of twenty administrative units in San José Province, though the metropolitan area stretches beyond the canton limits and comprises a third of the country's population. Besides, San José exerts a strong influence on a wider range because of its proximity to minor cities (Alajuela, Heredia and Cartago) and the country's demographic assemblage in the Central Valley.

The city lies at a mean elevation of 1,161 m above sea level, and enjoys a stable climate throughout the year, with an average temperature of 23C and precipitation of 150 mm per month.

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.

The National Theater and the Melico Salazar offer hectic calendars of cultural activities, featuring theater and dance groups and orchestra music throughout the year.

There are some cafés in the downtown area, in the Central Mail building, The National Theater and the Melico Salazar, where national coffee is prepared and served in typical Costa Rican ways.

There are many museums and other attractions offering alternative ways of exploring the city. One of these is the Gold Museum, which offers a rare look at various gold artifacts of the ancient Latin American civilizations. An interesting attraction for the less adventurous is the Lankester Botanical Gardens just outside of San José. Other attractions include various bars and clubs which concentrate on holding musical shows and events. One for example is the bar "Sand Live" which is a massive inside/outside bar and concert hall which usually holds rock and extreme metal shows.

[Source: Wikipedia]

Send by: Leszek (Iława)

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