Nuestra Señora de La Merced church, San José
Nuestra Señora de La Merced Church, commonly known as the La Merced Church, is located in downtown San José, Costa Rica?s capital, on the Second Avenue and 4th Avenue, 12-10 street, in the Hospital District, in front of the Braulio Carrillo park (known as Parque de La Merced) and the East side of the San Juan de Dios Hospital. La Merced Church is the successor of another destroyed temple that was in the vicinity and had the same name. It is a Catholic Christian church and parish under the patronage of the Virgen de las Mercedes. In 1888, it was destroyed by an earthquake; to rebuild the Catholic Church the Costa Rican government exchanged land, so this church would be rebuilt on the land occupied by the Municipal Theater; and the place where the first church built now is located the Central Bank. This is the reason why present La Merced Church is not within the Merced district, whose name comes from the first temple.
Its construction began in June, 1894, with Bishop Bernardo Augusto Thiel, bishop of Costa Rica. This church was built by the engineer Lesmes Jimenez Bonnefil and architect Jaime Carranza; noted especially a single central tower showing a strong influence of German Gothic architecture. Construction was completed around 1907 with the placement of the tower clock. This church is recognized from June 11, 1996, like historical and architectural heritage of Costa Rica and one of the most recognizable buildings in the San Jose city. The building was built on a brick on a stone plinth. The armor of the roof is iron, as well as cover and it was restored in 2002. The temple has three interior naves under a continuous ogive. The central nave is the highest, with fifteen meters in height, while the aisles reach nine meters. It has a mahogany ceiling of a neutral tone, which is held on columns of wood, which presented colorful paintings work of the Italian Adriano Arie, that date back to 1940.
The base of the inner walls has a veneer of marble with mosaic floor. The church has several elements such as rosettes, gardens and windows, as well as a covered with Venetian stucco on the main entrance. During the last restoration, the original colors of the temple and a series of original paintings on the inner walls were rescued. Inside this La Merced church are several works of art, highlighting three stained glass windows depicting the apparition of the Virgin of Mercy, and an image of Christ in Agony, by artist Manuel Maria Zuniga, who is portrayed naked on a cross, and then make the sculpture, so the anatomy and the wounds of Christ are quite realistic.
This church is a real architectural jewel, so if you are a lover of history and architecture don?t forget to visit this beauty and artistic work.