Friday 25 June 2021

La Merced Church, Downtown San José

Seen from afar, San José depends on buildings as the church of La Merced to have meaning. Its unmistakable and red metal tower remains a spear tasteful that gave us our grandparents. Today it is restored, decades after we began to clog it with cemented buildings that look like almost-drawers.

That same temple served as a “political prison” for the image of the Virgin of Los Angeles (now living in the Basilica de Cartago). This church is located in [Av. 2-4/calle 12]. It is built in Gothic style with neoclassical elements. It is the oldest church in San José.

It was designed by Lesmes Jimenez Bonnefil. It is distinguished by a sculpted wooden ceiling, slender spires and arched windows. It is faced by a high, ornate, concrete wall. The main entrance is a part of a high tower topped by the pointed arch dome. It is fronted by Braulio Carillo Park. In 2002 the Ministry of Culture gave 360 million colones for the renovation of its northern nave.

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This somewhat more Gothic church is quite pretty from the outside, though a bit rustic and in need of some paint inside. La Merced has a history and valuable objects to ensure sufficiently a guided tour that deserves attention as well for Ticos and foreigners.

This church, for example, gives its name to the Merced district. It is also one of the finest examples of ancient and neo-Gothic style that are in the country, and was declared a Historic Architectural Heritage.

In addition the church has a tower, where are the bells and the original watch, where you can admire a panoramic view of part of the city.

Across the church (in Costa Rica there is always a park across a Catholic church) is Parque La Merced – commonly known as “Parque Nica”, for the large number of Nicaraguan nationals frequenting the park regularly, a cultural centre for Nicaraguans living and working in Costa Rica.

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More info and photos of San José visit

Photo: Fotos Aereas Costa Rica

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