9 things you didn’t know about the Melico Salazar Theater

by | August 29, 2019

Ig photo by: Pandaenelespacio

The northeast corner of the Central Park of San José is known by the locals as the Melico Salazar Theater, but how much do you know about the history of this theater and the other institutions that occupied this iconic corner in the capital? Here are eight things you might not know about it:

  1. The Cabildo (Town Hall) of San Jose was located in that corner since 1799, it was here where the independence documents were received in 1821.
  2. In 1833 the State Barracks were built there

    State Barracks circa 1870. Photo courtesy of Chepe Antiguo

    Photo courtesy of Chepe Antiguo

  3. In that corner in 1914 the Superior School of Boys was created, later called Juan Rafael Mora Porras School, until 1924.

    Photo courtesy of Chepe Antiguo

    Photo courtesy of Chepe Antiguo

  4. The Raventós Theater was built between 1927 and 1928, owned by the Spanish José Raventós Gual (1879-1931). The Neoclassical-Creole design is by José Fabio Garnier Ugalde and the decorative reliefs, in a modernist style, are by the Catalan Gerardo Rovira.

    Photo taken from: Andres Fernandez Blog

  5. When it was inaugurated it was the largest theater in Central America with room for 2250 spectators and its inauguration was attended by the then president Cleto González Víquez.Photo courtesy of Chepe Antiguo
  6. The dawn of April 23, 1967 a fire destroyed the theater.
  7. It was about to be demolished to make a 10-story building instead, but writer Carmen Naranjo as Minister of Culture led the way for the State to acquire the property. The purchase was completed in 1976 by, then Minister, Guido Saenz.
  8. In 1985 it was reopened with the name Melico Salazar Popular Theater in honor of the tenor Manuel Melico Salazar (1887-1950), considered the most important lyric singer in the history of Costa Rica.
  9. Melico Salazar died on on August 6 1950 poor and forgotten in San José, Costa Rica.

Ig photo by: adriramirez.o

Besides its interesting history, this theater remains one of the main cultural centers of San José, with a busy calendar full of events such as dance, live music and plays. If you are on a vacation trip in Costa Rica, or just looking for what to do in San José, we recommend visiting the Melico Salazar Theater website.

We believe San José is a beautiful city, full of interesting stories, culture, entertainment and gastronomy. It’s our home town and we work hard to demonstrate it can be an amazing touristic destination, and stop being a mandatory stop for tourists. If you want to learn more about the history of San José, join us in one of our City Tours  from Monday to Saturday.

PITTI is a Certified Tour Guide. History and Nature are huge passions of his and CouchSurfing is to blame for unveiling his passion for showing travelers around his hometown. He loves to learn new languages and sharing cultural experiences, you never know when knowing how to ask for a beer in Chech or Mandarin might become handy, right?