We saw the Plaza of Culture in 1996, so when I saw the four ventilation stacks in 2015, I knew right away that I was in the right place. I know I have a photo of it back in 1996, but I can't find it, so I will leave a space for it.
Apparently the PTB decided that San Jose needed more open space so they decided to take down the buildings around the National Theatre (so that it would have more prominence) and build a partly subterranean museum to house the collection of the Costa Rica Central Bank, which was started in 1950. In the process of demolition, an additional previously unknown area of the National Theatre was discovered. So they decided to make the whole museum underground and put a park area on top.
The Gold Museum website says The Plaza is a 45 x 80 square-meter open area with a fountain, green areas and several levels. In the Plaza de la Cultura people are the protagonists, infusing the space with meaning whenever they use and share it. The space has acquired vital significance with its powerful symbolic values that endow the heart of the city with character.
This small plaza is a focal point in the heart of San Jose. It is situated in front of the Grand Hotel and across the Street from the National Theater. The Plaza offers a great spot for tourists to give their feet a rest while doing a little people watching.
The attractive square provides benches, a fountain, several small shade trees and one magnificent towering Royal Palm. There is also a monument to the Juan Mora Fernandez, the first President of Costa Rica. This is the main square for San Jose and is visited by thousands of both locals and visitors every day. The Plaza often hosts celebrations, demonstrations, performances, etc.
Impossible to miss if you’re walking along the Avenida Central Pedestrian Mall. All of a sudden you come upon an open plaza with the National Theatre in the background and you can’t help but smile. Note that beneath the plaza are two museums and the official tourist office (ICT) with an entrance on the east side (Calle 5). Pigeons and street performers are in attendance and benches are provided for people watching.
Plaza de la Cultura is an open space at the side of the National Theatre and Avenida Central. The plaza is frequent with families with kids. Photographers with polaroid cameras and clowns make a living here. They also sell small bags of peanuts, which ppl buy and feed the pigeons. There are large number of pigeons as a result. There are often ppl lining up for public telephones at the corner.
There are some benches in the plaza, but most are not shaded. For those that like to rest in the shade, head to the nearby Plaza Mora Fernandez, which is just steps away in front of the entrance of the National Theatre. This is also a great place for ppl watching.