Esteban Cervantes Jim?nez (Costa Rica):
As a monument of national importance, it´s clear that the ruins of the town de la Concepción del Rescate de Ujarrás are a valuable (and extremely rare) example of Costa Rica´s colonial times. It has to be considered that during those times, the province was the poorest of the american Spanish Empire because of the lack of metals, the little and bellicose indigenous population and the weather. Besides the fact that most of the colonial buildings were much more simple and built in fragile materials, the earthquakes have taken their share in making this country the one that has the least remainders of those times. Ujarrás has managed to stay to these days because of its abandonment in the final years of the XVIII century and first of the XIX century, because of diseases and famine, its population created what would become the city of Paraíso. What stands out of this ruins is definitively the church, recently restored and with a very interesant architecture in a construction system called calicanto, standing all the facades, the altar and other parts. From the rest of the town, it only remains here and there the foundations of the most important houses in the town. Another important fact is that the church housed what was the miraculous statue of the saint patron in colonial times: the Virgin of the Holy Conception of Ujarras, which allegedly protected the colony from the attacks of the pirate Morgan in the 17th century. The image, as the rest of the town, was evacuated to present day Paraíso and there is still a religious procession down Paraíso to the rests of the town. The other important fact is mostly geographic: Ujarrás is located near the town of Orosi, near the Cachí Reservoir, in a deep valley of extreme beauty crossed by several rivers, and covered with coffee and flower plantations. Orosi Valley is indeed considered as a whole one of the main tourist attractions in the country and a usual trip could include the visit to Ujarrás, Orosi and its colonial church, one of its scenic spots, spas, Cachí Dam, Tapantí National Park (part of La Amistad WHS)and Lankester botanical gardens. As a whole, the cultural landscape is far more interesting than the monument alone. While it definitively doesn´t have probably an OUV for itself, combined with other colonial monuments and/or Orosi valley, it compares to other sites already in the list.
Date posted: June 2011
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