Alianza Francesa says that about 1850 San José changed from a typical Latin American village into a city with European airs thanks to the construction of neoclassical buildings.
To demonstrate that point, the French cultural organization has another walking tour planned. This one is Feb. 11 at 9 a.m. with architect Andrés Fernández. The event is called appropriately “San José Neoclásico.”
The tour includes buildings residents see every day but in a new light. The tour includes the Banco Anglo Costarricense building on the pedestrian walkway that was the scene of a financial disaster when the state bank failed.
The bank that failed due to internal corruption in the 1990s. The central government has restored the building that is on the pedestrian mall that is Avenida Central downtown.
Other sites includes the Edificio Metálico or Escuela Metalica,
Parque Morazán, the Colegio Superior de las Señoritas, the Catedral Metropolitana and the Teatro Nacional. All are within short walking distance of each other.
Neoclassical refers to art and design movements that are based on Greece or Roman traditions. It was popular in the mid-19th century here.
Alianza Francesa released undated photos of each structure. Some appear to have been taken at the turn of the 20th century or earlier. The structures seem identical to what they are now except that the exterior has changed with more vegetation or landscaping or fences.
The tour admission is 15,000 colons or about $30. That includes the guided walk, discussions and brunch in the cafe of the Teatro Nacional.
This is the third such excursion sponsored by the cultural center. The first explored Barrio México. The second concentrated on the downtown churches.