Valley’s neo-Gothic heritage will be focus of historical presentation

The Central Valley’s neo-Gothic churches will be the topic when  Alianza Francesa hosts another discussion on architecture. Historian  Andrés Fernández will be featured.

What once was slur, Gothic architecture dominated  construction in the Middle Ages and began a comeback in the late 18th century. In Costa Rica, the style mainly is found in churches.

Typically, the pointed arch is a giveaway.

Fernández also is expected to discuss the relationship of the national government and the Roman Catholic Church in constructing these landmarks.

A case in point is the Iglesia de la Merced in San José, which in this decade underwent a $1 million restoration. Some of  the funds for the job came from the Cervercería Costa Rica, the beer company, but the municipality and the central government also put in money.

Also being featured are churches in San Isidro de Coronado and San Rafael de Heredia.

In the Middle Ages craftsmen spent centuries building one of the famous churches. With modern technology and machines, the Costa Rican churches went up much quicker, mainly in the  the late 19th and early 20th century.

The discussion will be at the central offices of  Alianza Francesa on Avenida 7 at Calle 5 in San Jose’s Barrio Amón. The session starts at 6:30 p.m., and there is a 3,000 colons ($6) admission.  The sponsorship by the French cultural organization is appropriate because in the Middle Ages, the Gothic style was identified with France.

Alianza plans similar discussions with one on the architecture of Guanacaste July 15, on the Colegio Superior de Señoritas Sept. 16 and on the Plaza de la Cultura Nov. 18.

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