Morazán Park Music Temple turns 100

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On a date like today, but a century ago, the San José Festival Commission commissioned the architect and painter José Francisco Salazar Quesada to design and build the kiosk in the Morazán park, or Temple of Music.

Salazar only had three weeks to complete this task, as he had to be ready for the year-end parties of 1920, where the queen of festivities would be crowned and the new year would be celebrated; So the workers worked intensely in 18-hour days, to complete the works in record time.

The Temple of Music was inaugurated on Sunday, December 26, 1920. Its twelve-column structure is made of reinforced concrete and its style, of neoclassical influence, is inspired by the temple of Cupid, a neighbor of the Petit Trianon in Versailles, France.

Detalles de los ornamentos en las columnas y la cúpula del Monumento, hechos por Francisco Jiménez operario de los talleres de Obras Públicas. Por: Carlos Fallas Pastor, historiador del Centro de Patrimonio Cultural.

In this park, which dates back to 1887, the New Year’s parties and musical retreats took place, before being passed to Plaza González Víquez and finally to Zapote.

Salazar only had three weeks to complete this task, as he had to be ready for the year-end parties of 1920, where the queen of festivities would be crowned and the new year would be celebrated; So the workers worked intensely in 18-hour days, to complete the works in record time.

The Temple of Music was inaugurated on Sunday, December 26, 1920. Its twelve-column structure is made of reinforced concrete and its style, of neoclassical influence, is inspired by the temple of Cupid, a neighbor of the Petit Trianon in Versailles, France.
Details of the ornaments on the columns and the dome of the Monument, made by Francisco Jiménez, an operator of the Public Works workshops. By: Carlos Fallas Pastor, historian of the Cultural Heritage Center.

“Never have the little parks [sic] of Morazán been seen so crowded by our society and people, as yesterday afternoon, on the occasion of the inauguration of the Temple of Music. A large public gathered there, and everywhere our pretty ladies shone their grace and beauty. The inauguration took place at five, amid the chords of the National Anthem. The Carnival Queen, Miss Enriqueta Chavarría Escalante, broke the bottle of champagne. (…) After this ceremonial, the Military Band, dressed in gala dress, gave a select concert, and finally performed the Fado, thereby contributing to brighten up the spirit of the huge crowd, ”announced the newspaper La Prensa, the day after that inauguration.

The head of the works was Manuel Antillón, from the Directorate of Public Works; the outstanding carpenter, Constantino Marín and the artist who modeled the reliefs, and probably the capitals of the columns, was the young Francisco Jiménez, “who, obeying the rigorous rules of aesthetics, synthesize the harmonic set that forms the indisputable beauty of the sanctuary that occupies us at the moment ”, as expressed by Mr. Dolores Ulloa in the Diario de Costa Rica, on December 28, 1920.

Obviously, it was a great event to raise this monument in just three weeks in a strategic social point of the capital, so there were many accolades and tributes for the architect. “The idea produced real enthusiasm, because Mr. Salazar has shown to possess great gifts as a true artist, industriousness, speed for his beautiful work and unusual integrity,” read La Prensa on December 28, 1920.

According to the newspaper La Prensa, on December 29, 1920, the Carnival Committee decided to decorate the architect Salazar during the concert on the first day of civic festivities “for his success in the construction of the Temple of Music” and it was ordered that the medal would be placed by the “Carnival Queen”. In addition, the workers of the Public Works workshops gave the architect a serenade.
Students from the Colegio de Señoritas in front of the Temple of Music. Manuel Gómez Miralles, 1922.

The Temple of Music, now centenary, is characterized by its good acoustics, very appropriate for the concerts that are held under its beautiful dome. In normal times, young people are seen practicing choreography, circus arts, or just chatting. Musical bands perform and dances are performed around them.

“It represents a prosperous period in our history, where the eyes looked towards Europe for inspiration, but using the new technique at that time: reinforced concrete. Its cupola with caissons, which lighten it, rests on Ionic columns that transmit, in a slender and elegant way, its weight to the ground. The haste with which they built the work did not affect the quality of its construction at all, which remains almost intact a century later. We are happy to be able to celebrate its first centenary, seeing it in its greatest splendor, thanks to the recent intervention carried out by the Municipality of San José. The Temple of Music is a beautiful legacy that we must maintain and take care of for the use and enjoyment of these and new generations, ”said Diego Meléndez, director of the Center for Cultural Heritage.

Its heritage value was recognized since 1975 when it was declared Historical-Architectural Heritage by Decree No. 4605-C. The Municipality of San José is the entity in charge of this monument.

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