Sunday, July 22, 2007

Costa Rica's oldest bridge

(Photo by Alexander Otarola / Al Dia newspaper)(Al Dia) - The bridge La Garita, located in Atenas, Costa Rica is one of the oldest bridges in the country and 161 years later is still standing and in use.

Built during the Jose MarĂ­a Alfaro (1842-1846) administration, the bridge was built to open passage to Puntarenas with money raised by a group of San Jose women from donations.

The bridge is also important from an historical point as on May 12, 1857, where president Juan Rafael Mora with his victorious army faced the filibusters of the 1856 national campaign.

The 1856 national campaign was the greatest political and cultural threat to Costa Rica as it faced the rising power of U.S. mercenary William Walker in Nicaragua, who after winning control of Nicaragua set his sights on Costa Rica.

The structure is made of stone and "algamasa" - a combination of egg white, sand and lime.

The narrow bridge, though still used today by area residents, receives a lot of tourists.

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