Cartago is a city in Costa Rica, in the east of the capital, San José, at the base of the Irazú Volcano. Cartago is the capital of Cartago province.
Cartago served as the first capital of Costa Rica until 1823, when Republican leader Gregorio Jose Ramirez, moved the capital to the bigger city of San José, because Cartago wanted to unite the newly independent province of Costa Rica to the Iturbide's Mexican Empire while San Jose and Alajuela supported a Republican system.
The city was severely damaged by major earthquakes in 1822, 1841 and 1910. In 1963, a volcanic eruption of Irazu Volcano which for two years covered San José in ash badly damaged some agricultural areas around Cartago, but not the city.
Many pilgrims come to Cartago annually, to visit the nation's principal church, the enormous Basílica de Nuestra Señora de Los Ángeles, on the feast day of the Virgin of the Angels (August 2). The church has a statue of the Black Madonna known as La Negrita, who supposedly had great healing powers. The sick come to her statue in hope of a miracle from La Negrita.
According to folklore in Costa Rica, the statue was found by an indigenous girl in 1635. She brought it home several times, but it mysteriously reappeared at its original site. The rock where she found it is now kept in a backroom in the basilica and is revered as a sacred relic and object of inspiration. The rock is supposed to be in the same location it was when La Negrita was found, but it has been moved as the basilica was rebuilt. It is common for pilgrims to touch the rock in reverence.
Agricultural products make up the base of the economy of the rural areas around the city. There is an industrial park where a few Costa Rican and international companies are located. The province is known for its rich ecological diversity and dense tropical rainforests along the mountain ranges near the Irazu and Turrialba volcanoes.
Cartago is home of... [continues]
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