|Alajuela, Costa Rica|
Alajuela seen from the air
|Nickname(s): Ciudad de los Mangos (Spanish)
" City of Mangoes "
Motto: Pro Patria Nostra — Sanguis Noster (Latin)
|• Mayor||Roberto Thompson|
|• Total||8.88 km2 (3.43 sq mi)|
|• Density||4,800/km2 (13,000/sq mi)|
Because of its location in the Costa Rican Central Valley, Alajuela is nowadays englobed in the conurbation of Great Metropolitan Area (GAM). The city is the birthplace of Juan Santamaría, the national hero of Costa Rica and the figure who gives the name to the country's main international airport, which is located south of Alajuela downtown.
Geography and Population
The limits of the city of Alajuela formally corresponds to the canton's first district limits, even though the city's current population and urban area stretches beyond the district limits. The district of Alajuela covers an area of 8.88 km², It lies at an elevation of 952 meters above sea level in the Central Valley, 19 kilometers northwest of San José.
Alajuela's climate is tropical, typical of the Central Valley, but slightly warmer than San José. Temperatures are moderate, averaging 23 – 26 degrees Celsius with a low humidity rate of 20% almost all year round. Alajuela and its surroundings are famed for having "the best weather in the world".
According to the 2000 Census, the urban area of the city of Alajuela had a population of 123,481 (including the district of Alajuela and the urban population of other districts in Alajuela canton). The current population (as of 2009) of the district of Alajuela is of 50,753.
In pre-Columbian times the land where canton of Alajuela is today was part of the so-called Huetar Kingdom of the West, which was inhabited by native tribes, who at the time of the Spanish conquest were led by Chief Garabito.
The first Spanish settlers established settlements c. 1650 in the region. In a letter of obligation granted in 1864, the place is mentioned as La Lajuela in the Valley of Barva, near the Canoas river.
In 1777 the dwellers of La Lajuela and Ciruelas, having been served with notice to move to Villa Vieja (today’s Heredia), requested the provisional construction of a public place of prayer in the house of Don Dionysius Oconitrillo, of Spanish origin, 30 meters north of where Alajuela’s cathedral is today. After increases of population in the five existing quarters then: Targuaz, Puás, Ciruelas, La Lajuela and Rio Grande, the citizens faced difficulties to maintain their religious obligations, so they requested permission to establish a parish and a public place of prayer from the Bishop of Nicaragua and Costa Rica, Monsignor don Esteban Lorenzo de Tristán.
According to a motion issued in the Spanish Parliament of Cadiz (Spain, May 19, 1812), the first town hall of Alajuela was founded in 1813. On December 18 of the same year, the La Lajuela quarter obtained the title of town and it was renamed. It was first called "Villa Hermosa," then it was called "San Juan Nepomuceno de Alajuela" and finally the title of city was granted on November 20, 1824 and with it the name "Alajuela" which remains today.
Participation in important historical events by citizens of Alajuela has ensured the city's reputation as a storied place in Costa Rican history. The national hero Juan Santamaría, who died during the campaign in 1856 to remove invaders threatening Costa Rica's sovereignty, was born in Alajuela. This historical event is celebrated and remembered every year on the 11th of April and it is a national holiday.
The main exports of the region are coffee, sugar-cane, corn, beans, tobacco, citrus fruits, strawberries, tubers like cassava, flowers and ornamental plants. Other commercial activities include poultry farming, beekeeping, pig farming and the dairy industry. More recently, Alajuela has seen important investment in free zone parks and heavy industry companies.
Alajuela is an important transport hub for the country, connecting the capital city with the northwestern regions of Costa Rica. As a part of the GAM, most of the inhabitants of Alajuela work in other cities or regions of the Central Valley, and everyday receives residents from other locations to come to work in factories of the canton. Central America's second busiest airport, Juan Santamaría International Airport, is located 3 kilometers south of the city center.
Poás Volcano next to Alajuela City
- San Bartolomé de Tirajana, Spain
- Lahr, Germany
- Montegrotto Terme, Italy
- Downey, USA
- Dothan, USA
- Guadalajara, Mexico
- Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan
- Hangzhou, China
- Instituto Geográfico Nacional (IGN), 2001.
- Alajuela, Climate and info, in Costa Rica WeatherCentre
- Ocampo Barrantes, Marlon. "Los Orígenes de la Población de Alajuela, 1601-1782". Editorial UNED, Costa Rica, 2009.
- "10 confirmed dead, 32 injured after quake in Costa Rica". CNN.com (Cable News Network). 2009-01-09.
- "Sister Cities, Public Relations". Guadalajara municipal government. Archived from the original on March 2, 2012. Retrieved March 12, 2013.
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