Casa Amarilla tours are a highlight for weekend

Anyone who wants to see the inside of Casa Amarilla will have that opportunity Saturday. Tours of the imposing structure that houses the foreign ministry are being arranged as part of Enamorate de tu Ciudad!, the long-running series of expositions centered on Parque España across the street.

Also planned are guided tours of the Museo del Jade, which contains a priceless collection of pre-Columbian artifacts. Tours also are planned, starting at noon, of the Museo de Arte y Diseño Contemporáneo.

The Saturday events include music, yoga, face painting, classes and displays. It is being billed by the Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud as a celebration of the end of summer. Costa Rica summer generally is considered the December-April dry season, and the country is well into a transition to the rainy season.

Casa Amarilla never served as a private residence. This is the former home of the ill-fated Corte de Justicia Centroamericana, promoted by Andrew Carnegie in the early 1900s.

A U.S. architect got the job to build the home of the court on the north side of what is today Parque España on Avenida 7. The structure was the Palacio de la Paz Centroamericana, but because of the color of the exterior walls it became known locally as Casa Amarilla.

The agreement creating the court quickly fell apart, and Costa Rica took full possession of the building. In the early 1920s the structure was the casa presidencial of the time, the office of the foreign minister and even the site of the legislature. The structure withstood natural events, and it was the place to move government operations when other locations suffered earthquake damage.

The building was remodeled in 1963, and the basement was brought up to the same elegant standards as the first floor. The building was declared a national monument in 1976.

The festivities also include Parque Morazán to the west. There in the Templo de la Música starting at 11 a.m. will be a series of presentations, including the Orquestra del Sistema Nacional de la Música de Desamparados and the Banda de Conciertos de Heredia, followed by Circo Fantástico, breakdancing and Ballet Folclórico Nayuribe and Ensamble Cultural de la Caja at 5 p.m.

The Parque Jardín de Paz between the two larger parks will see urban sports during the day followed by hip hop and the rock/pop band Los Govinda.

The finale will be an open percussion session where anyone may bring their drums or other instruments of that type.

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