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 natives called Cubujuquí. Finally, in 1734, the chapel was set up under the name The Immaculate Conception of Cubujuquí.
In 1752, Monsignor Pedro Agustín Morel de Santa Cruz, the bishop of Nicaragua and Costa Rica, set up the first school in Cubujuquí 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 belong 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 Fernández de Heredia, who also decided to name the town after 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 11th, 1824, the Chief of State Juan Mora Fernández claimed it as a city.
Toward the end of the XIX 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- Temple of the Immaculate Conception Parish
Located on 0 and 2nd Avenue, o and 1st Streets.
In 1736, the parish of the Immaculate Conception of Cubujuquí (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-proof walls, Roman style columns, high vaulted ceilings, marble floors, and Doric columns. It had an alter made of gold slabs with gold candelabras, a sculpture of the soldier San Pedro, and another of the Heredian architect and sculptor, Fadrique Gutiérrez in the façade, and 20 beautifully designed stain-glass windows created in France. The church also offered spacious gardens, a baptistery, and a beautifully adorned parish room.
The north tower displays a clock and the south towers houses 4 bells installed between 1802 and 1908. An earthquake damaged part of this structure in 1851, but it was restored by the German engineer Francisco Kurtze. The style is Romanesque and has 8 buttresses that help mitigate the impact of tremors. The roof of the temple is made of tile.
Declared a National Monument on May 31st, 1973. It was built between 1797 and 1841.
2- Nicolás Ulloa Soto Central Park
Located on 0 and 2nd Avenue, 0 and 2nd Streets
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 González Céspedes and Nicolás Hernández built it. In 1905, the artisan, Pablo Lépiz 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 José Maria Barrantes. On July 8th, 1958, the park was named after the Heredian benefactor, Nicolás Ulloa Soto.
Declared a Historical and Cultural landmark on October 13th, 1994.
Juan Rafael Chacón Solares
Located on 2nd Avenue, 0 Street
Juan Rafael Chacón (1894-1982) started his career as a sculptor when he was a child, in the shop of José 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 Ramón Bonilla who helped him earn an official scholarship to travel to Europe. In Barcelona, he worked in the shop of the Masterful José 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 Sánchez 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. Echeverría Award and in 1971 the Magón. 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.
Aquileo J. Echeverría Zeledón
Located on 0 Avenue, 0 Street
Aquileo J. Echeverría (1866-1909) began to work as a journalist and was able to publish the first writings of poetry, chronicles, and stories in La República, 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 XIX century and beginning of the XX century with cunning, humor, simplicity, and spontaneity. In El Salvador, he worked with Rubén Diarío at the newspaper, La Unión. Between 1903 and 1905, he published his first tome of verses, Romances y Concherías (Romances and traditional tales).
Because of his efforts in the development of Costa Rican literary art, on October 29, 1953, the Congress recognized him as the distinguished National Letters, and on November 24th, 1961 the Aquileo J. Echeverría Award was established, which would be granted annually to a deserved literary work. On April 4th, 1937 a commemorative monolith was constructed. Made of marble and measuring some 6 feet in height, it was created by the Portugués brothers.
Nicolás Ulloa Soto
Located on 0 and 2nd Avenue, 0 and 2nd Streets
Nicolás 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 José and Alajuela. Likewise, in 1835, he was a key player in the La Liga War. When three of these cities failed to recognize San José as the capital, and the Braulio Carrillo administration, he named Nicolás Ulloa as the Chief of State. The outrage led him to exile in Los Montes del Aguacate, an embargo of his goods, and he was charged with the costs of the war. Sometime 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 displayed in Central Park in 1999.
3- República de Argentina School
Located on 0 Avenue, 2nd Street.
A neoclassic architectural work, it was designed by León Tessier and supervised by Joaquín 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 Fernández 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 was then converted into the Regional Education Department of Heredia.
Declared a Historical and Architectural landmark on May 19th, 1987.
4- The Old Match Factory
Located on 0 Avenue, 4th Street.
In the 1940´s, José Gamboa Alvarado wanted to build a match factory in the City of Heredia. Therefore, he constructed a building with reinforced concrete and in the Art Deco style, which had a warehouse and offices. The brand was known as Águila y Campeón, which were packaged in little wooden match boxes and wrapped in blue paper. In the middle of the 1960´s, the factory was moved to what is currently Paseo de las Flores to a building with more space and eventually closed in the 1980´s. 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.
5- Joaquín Lizano Gutiérrez School
Located on 1st Avenue, 2nd Street .
This building was constructed near the end of the XIX century during the Rafael Iglesias Castro administration and is made from lime and brick. The large windows are framed by a medium point arch in a guillotine style and also displays decorative finishes on the façade. It offers a symmetrical layout beginning from a central corner point.
The school came about in Heredia as a result of the education reform of the 1880´s, headed by Mauro Fernández and Bernardo Soto. It´s name comes from Sir Joaquín Lizano Gutiérrez, 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 Tomás Guardia Administration.
Declared a Historical and Architectural landmark on May 28th, 1992
6- Casa Domingo González Pérez
Located on 2nd Street , 1st Avenue
Constructed more than 150 years ago, this structure displays thick adobe and bahareque walls as well as unique techniques and construction materials from the colony. It is a one floor house and because of its antiquity it has no driveway or sidewalk.
The walls of the facade are made from adobe, the windows are guillotine style, and the floor tile is made from mud, and has 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 policy for creating cities.
Declared a Historical and Architectural National landmark of Cost Rica on January 26th, 2000.
7- Government, Mail and Telegraph Building
Located on Central Street, Central Avenue and 1st Avenue.
The government of Ricardo Jiménez Oreamuno (1910-1914), set out to introduce to the country public buildings that were modern and safe. Therefore 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.
Declared a Historical landmark on May 10th, 1982.
8- Municipal Palace
Located on 0 Avenue, 0 and 2nd Street
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 taken down and a new one was raised in its place, larger and leading from a frontal corridor that faces the main plaza. This was also made of adobe with a wide open central patio, offices, and even a place for a jail. In 1870, due to the need for space, the municipality moved to an office building located on the north side of the church.
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 Rafeal 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 Gutiérrez, 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 building occupied by the City of Heredia.
9- The Fort
Located on Central Avenue and Central Street.
Constructed in 1876, it was designed and constructed by the commanding officer of the city´s plaza, Fadrique Gutiérrez (1844-1897), a skilled drawer and sculptor. This tower construction, measuring 42 feet in height, is a symbol of the City of Heredia. Initially the project including three towers that were never constructed.
It was initially thought that Fadrique Gutiérrez 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.
In Neoclassic style, the Fort has been repaired on two occasions: in 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 skylights in the shape of a clover as well as a balcony at the top.
Declared a National Monument on November 2nd, 1974 and on September, 1992, it was granted the title of the symbol of the City of Heredia.
Fadrique Gutiérrez López (1841-1897)
Located on 0 Avenue and 0 Street
A multifaceted personality, he was a military man, an inventor, sculptor, painter, and designer, as well as building constructor (The Fort being one of them).
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 found in the Municipal Palace. He also created two sculptures of saints that stand out on the upper sides of the façade of the Carmen church, and others that were located in the façade of the parish and of which, only Saint Peter remains. He became governor of Alajuela in 1884 and in 1885 he took over as Commanding Chief of the Plaza; with the death of Próspero Fernández, president and personal friend (1885), Lic. Bernardo Soto takes over, who he attempted to give a coup d'etat.
Exiled from the country for 8 years, he migrates 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, 0 Street
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 8th 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 institution. The sculptor Guillermo Hernández dedicated a sculpture in homage to the volunteer. It was sculpted in bronze and measures 3 feet in height. It was inaugurated in 1988.
10- The Culture House of Heredia (Alfredo González Flores).
Located on 0 Street and 0 Avenue.
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 XIX century, it was taken over by Domingo González Pérez who then handed it down to his son Alfredo González Flores, twenty-first president of Costa Rica (1914-1917) and lived there until his death in 1962.
In 1974, during the presidential administration of Daniel Oduber Quirós, the house was again taken over and converted into the Cultural House. It is now a Historical and Cultural Costa Rican landmark.
It is now used to exhibit works of art, contemplation meetings, and trainings. It is also used for expositions, concerts, dance and theater productions, as well as other artistic and creative activities.
Declared a National Monument in December, 1974.
11- Nicolás Ulloa Soto Historical House
Located on 0 Avenue, 0 and 1st Street
This building was initially created as a large adobe and bahareque housing project, 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 city property and in 1875, it was sold to the City, which became its headquarters until 1915. In 1916, it was converted to the Nicolás Ulloa School until 1938. Since then it has had various owners.
Declared and developed as a Historical and Architectural landmark in Costa Rica on November 13, 2002.
Located on 0 Avenue, 1st Street
The sculptor, Miguel A. Brenes Paniagua created a sculpture of a mother waiting with open arms for the arrival of her little son. It was created in bronze and measures about 5 feet in height and was inaugurate in 1988 in the alternate headquarters of the City of Heredia.
12- High School of Heredia
Located on Central Avenue, 1st and 3rd Street
This historical house was built in 1882. The High School of Heredia, established on August 15, 1870 and initially owned by the Panamanian Dr. José Domingo de Obaldía, was closed due to budget restrictions and was re-opened in 1875 under the name San Agustín 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.
In 1914, a new building was constructed made of French bahareque walls and a façade made of re-enforced concrete, based on the design of the engineer, José Fabio Garnier Ugalde. A year later, the Alfred González 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.
Declared a Historical and Cultural National Monument on August 4th, 1977
1- Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles Church
Located on 8th Avenue, 6th Street
At the beginning of the 1950´s, the neighborhood came together to buy the property beforehand to convert it into a catholic temple.
In 1955, the brick construction was completed, based on the Art Deco design of the architect José María Barrantes Monge, who was inspired by the Notre Dame de Raincy Church in Paris (France) 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 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 Borbón . In 1963, Gonzalo Víquez and Liliam Sánchez donated cedar wood for the ceiling. In 1970, a three-faced clock tower was installed with two bells from Germany called Carlos Humberto Rodríguez Quirós and Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles. In 1983, a stone alter was created for baptisms, a holy chapel, and multi-colored stain glass windows.
2- City Market of Heredia
Located between 6th and 8th Avenue, 2nd and 4th Street
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 Gutiérrez. It was inducted on June 23rd, 1889.
Initially, the construction was composed of 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.
Declared a Historical and Architectural landmark on June 12, 2003.
3- The Historic Train Station
Located on Central and 2nd Street, 8th Bis and 10th Avenue
On August 6th, 1872, the first locomotive arrived to the city. At the request of community residents, it 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 two more spaces for warehouses.
The current structure reflects the architectural elements of the beginning of the XX 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 16th, 2003.
4- Braulio Morales Cervantes School
Located on 8th Avenue, 0 Street
The property, a quarter of a block, is where the central school was constructed and donatd 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 it from Pascual Solórzano Sancho. The building was constructed in 1914 during the Alfredo González 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, a second lot was acquired for more available space.
5- Manuel María Gutiérrez Park
Located on 4th Avenue, 3rd Street
In the 1830´s, 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, they set up an area for bull fight and circus performances. 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 María Gutiérrez, whose 100 year anniversary birthday was celebrated. There is a contemporary iron fountain similar to that of the Central Park in Heredia. It is guessed that it was imported from England in 1878.
Manuel María Gutiérrez
Located on 4th Avenue, 3rd Street
Manuel María Gutiérrez (1829-1887), from a very young age, was a flautist in the San José 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 Rafeal Mora. Manuel María Gutiérrez also organized bands all over the country and created very important musical pieces like 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 Ramón Bonilla created a bust in his memory. It was made from bronze and measures some two feet in height. It was inaugurated in 1960.
6- La Leitona House
Located on 4th and 6th Avenue, 3rd Street
The historic house of Sir Jenaro Leitón (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 temple was built in 1820. It was destroyed by an earthquake in early 1850´s. 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 then in the first half of the XX century, it was acquired by Jenaro Leitón. Currently, it belongs to Adilia María 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.
Declared and developed as Historical and Architectural landmark of Costa Rica on March 8th, 2005.
7- Nuestra Señora del Carmen Church
Located on 4th Avenue, 3rd Street
In February of 1823, the town priest, Joaquín Carrillo, presented to the city the need to help the María Santísma del Carmen parish. 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 16th, 1874. The engineer, Francisco Kurtze, was in charge of the new construction, following a neoclassic design.
The current temple, with a design similar to the one before, was built from 1944 to 1945, according to the design of engineer Samuel Sáenz Flores.
At the two highest points of the façade, there are two statues of the saints Raimundo de Peñafort and San Simón Stock, created by Fadrique Gutiérrez (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.
8- The National University
Located on 2nd Avenue, 9th Street
On March 14th, 1973, this building was inaugurated during the José Figueres Ferrer (1970-1974) administration thanks to the efforts of his predecessor, the Minister of Education, Uladislao Gámez 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 Ramón and Pérez Zeledón, 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.