San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

At OsaStock, hopes of UNESCO recognition

As international artists prepare their sound checks before this year’s Sphere Festival in Ciudad Cortés, in the Southern Zone’s Osa Peninsula, the board of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) will begin to consider the inclusion of the region’s mysterious stone spheres as a World Heritage site.

Hundreds of pre-Columbian rock spheres dating to 1500 B.C. are located primarily along the Diquís Delta, and have enamored tourists and scientists for many years.

In September, President Laura Chinchilla submitted a proposal on why the artifacts merit recognition as a World Heritage site. The decision will be announced in February.

Theories abound on the origin of the spheres, including that they were markers of agricultural seasons, navigational guides or perhaps related to social castes. Studies, however, so far have been inconclusive.

Lawmaker Xinia Espinoza has introduced a bill that would have Costa Rica officially recognize the strange monoliths as part of a national and cultural tradition, and would help conserve the historical treasures.

The second purpose of the Sphere Festival, outside of promoting regional tourism, is to allow a space for artists to perform in front of a large, international audience.

While Boy George will headline the event, other regional artists include Venezuela’s Los Amigos Invisibles, and Costa Rica’s Ojo de Buey, Alonso Solis and Esteban Monge, among others.

The concert is free and begins Saturday at noon, ending around midnight in Los Jardines del Palacio Municipal, in Ciudad Cortés.

For more information, see (Spanish only), or call 2505-6555.

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