The Centro Nacional de la Cultura is one of the oldest structures in San José. The sprawling structure went up in 1853 at the order of President Juan Rafael Mora Porras after the central government gained control of the production of alcohol three years earlier.
The Fabrica Nacional de Licores is outside of town since 1996 on the Bernardo Soto highway in Grecia.
Guaro, the sugar cane drink, is its principal product.
What the alcohol producer left behind was converted into the headquarters of the Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud. Designers left a lot of the heavy machinery in place as reminders of the previous use. The facility is open to the public during business hours and houses several galleries. The location is jut east of Parque España on Avenida 7 opposite the foreign ministry, Casa Amarilla.
The ministry is celebrating its 43 years of existence Monday with the inauguration of a photo exhibit of the building and early San José. The inauguration will be in the nearby Biblioteca Nacional.