The beautiful Cartago is one of Costa Rica’s seven provinces and is known as the origin of many of the country’s ancient history and customs. Cartago is the capital of the Cartago province and it is actually one of the larger cities in the country. Although the country’s current capital is now San Jose, it used to be situated in Cartago from 1574 to 1824. The decision to relocate Costa Rica’s capital was made by the president mostly for political reasons.
The province of Cartago has much of the country’s history, mostly due to natural disasters. The city was incredibly damaged by a couple of earthquakes as well as by Irazu Volcano’s eruptions and ashes. The worst damage was done in 1963 by a huge volcanic eruption which covered the city in ash for about 2 years.
Cartago is nationally known for having extremely rich soils, making it a perfect area for the growth of agricultural crops. The main crops produced in this area are potatoes, onions, orchids and milk. Its rich soil also translates into the most gorgeous rivers, like the Reventazon river which wanders all the way to the Caribbean. This astonishing river offers many activities such as kayaking and white-water rafting.
There are quite a few places worth while visiting once you are in Cartago. Some of them include the Basilica of Los Angeles, the "Ruins of Santiago Apostle Church", The City Museum and the Central Market (especially on Thursdays and Saturdays).
The Ruins of Santiago Apostle Church (known as Las Ruinas de la Parroquia de Cartago), was a church built in 1575 and destroyed by two different earthquakes. Reconstruction of the church was attempted however earthquakes kept damaging the structure, so it was left as it is today. The structure’s unique architecture is definitely worth seeing!
Cartago is mostly known for being home to the enormous Basílica de Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles. Completed in 1924, this church became the focal point of one of Costa Rica’s biggest national holidays, August 2nd, where the “Romeria” is celebrated. This church was constructed around the story of a statue of a Black Madonna (La negrita) which was healing powers.
You can’t really get to know Costa Rica without visiting its former capital and learn from its history. Don’t miss to visit the beautiful Cartago, one of Costa Rica’s most beautiful provinces!
Picutres Taken From: