San Jose has several attractions for tourists. The Pre-Columbian Gold Museum, locally known as Museo del Oro Precolombino, is one of the best ones. It is a small art museum in downtown San Jose, Costa Rica, which is known for its intriguing exhibition of Pre-Columbian artifacts. The museum is built underground beneath the Plaza de lu cultura. It has an extraordinary and authentic collection of over 1600 individual pieces of artworks and monuments of pre-Columbian era that dates from 500 AD to 1500 Ad. The exhibition’s most popular object is the Media Escudo, Costa Rica’s very first coin which was minted years ago in 1825. It is also a home to the well-known El Guerrero, a large, human sized gold figure clad in gold ornaments. Furthermore, there are unique figurines of animals (particularly frogs and birds), amulets, jewelry pieces, erotic statues and even paintings by famous Costa Rican artist Lola Fernandez. The imitation of Pre-Columbian grave that holds 88 gold relics (discovered in 1950s in southeastern part of the country over a banana plantation) is quite an attraction to the visitors. There is a short video in English that describes the mementos and their functions precisely in order to enable the visitors to appreciate and understand the collection. One can learn a lot about the craftsmanship, skills, and aftermath of Pre-Columbian period by observing the well-laid out extensive exhibits.
According to the history of Costa Rica, gold was considered to represent power and authority as well as attributed to dexterity during the Pre-Columbian times. The Pre-Columbian Gold Museum is maintained by Banco Central de Costa Rica, the central bank of the country. The Museo Numismatico, also known as National Coin Museum, is located on the ground floor of the building and displays coins, bank notes, tokens, and other unofficial items from olden times. The Casa de Moneda is on the same floor and it features the history of minting through illustrations. The Pre-Columbian Gold Museum no doubt has an exquisite collection of gold objects of several primitive civilizations of Latin America. However besides gold, there are hundreds of sculptures, metates and artworks made of clay, jade, and stone. The museum is not just about valuable antiques encased in glass; rather the ancient creations symbolize the national history, the culture, and old traditions of Costa Rica.
The first class museum is open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the evening. The tickets can be acquired by visiting the Banco Central de Costa Rica, or if you prefer, you can buy them through their website right from the comfort of your home. The rates are 65.00 US Dollars. Those who wish for a guided tour, please book them in advance for only $35.00 US Dollars. A self-guided tour with the help of an audio tape is available for just 2.00 US Dollars. Visitors are required to bring their identification card for entry. Whether you are visiting San Jose for one day or longer, the museum is definitely worth a visit.
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