San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
Pretty things

Costa Rica's National Theater mural named one of '10 great ceilings around the world'

Stop and look up. One of the best ceilings to admire in the world is in Costa Rica, according to an article in USA Today.

The newspaper spoke with Jennifer Tombaugh of international tour company Tauck about the 10 best ceilings in the world. She included in her list the intricate decorations found inside San José’s National Theater.

From USA Today:

Teatro Nacional
San Jose, Costa Rica
This lavish theater was one of the first buildings in Central America with electric lighting, but it’s most famous for its ceiling murals. One, a tribute to the country’s coffee and banana crops, is notable for technical errors. Painted by an Italian master who hadn’t visited, it shows coffee growing at sea level (it’s normally cultivated in the mountains). And the bananas? “They’re upside down,” Tombaugh says.

The painting known as the Alegoría al Café y al Banano (Allegory of the Coffee and the Bananas) was on the ₡5 bill that is no longer in circulation.

The theater, constructed in 1897 and funded by a special coffee tax, has good company on Tombaugh’s list. Other selections include the Church of the Savior on the Spilled Blood in St. Petersburgh, Russia, Washington D.C.’s Library of Congress, and of course, the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican.

The National Theater, or Teatro Nacional, remains one of the capital’s most popular tourist attractions. Patrons attend the theater to see orchestras, operas and other performances. There’s a worthwhile café inside, and theater is home to the National Symphony Orchestra. Tourists can step in during the day and take a self-guided tour through the building’s neo-classical architecture (which uses marble brought over from Italy).

The theater is located in the heart of the capital, and any taxi driver will know how to get you there. For more information visit, or call 2221-5341.


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Gaby Villalobos De Luconi

Realmente es una verdadera belleza !

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Manfred Coto


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Robert Svensson

Costa Rican flags are indeed American flags. Learn to separate America from the US. So annoying. When will all gringos learn?

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Jeff Mezak

The construction of The National Theater of Costa Rica ,was possible by the poor people of Costa Rica they paid the 96% with a import tax of the total cost of the Building and only 4% was paid by the coffee tax.

It is a Myth that was funded by a special coffee tax

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The mistakes are that the coffe trees are taller than those, and the bananas

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Jerry Matters

The flags on the ships in harbor are American in the painting…the flags on the ships on the five colon note are Costa Rican

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