Interesting People and Places   3 comments

Carlos Durán Sanatorium (a.k.a Sanatorium of Prussia)

I obtained this explanation of the buildings from a website on haunted buildings in Costa Rica.

The large complex set near the Irazu Volcano in Cartago served several purposes during its functional life: as a hospital for tuberculosis and leprosy patients, an insane asylum (under the name Sanatorio Carlos Duran) as well as an orphanage for children. The complex is currently abandoned with guards patrolling the grounds during the day, though they say few dare to go there at night.

I wanted badly to climb the fence and go in, but I dared not. I saw a few people in the area and thought it best to stay outside at a safe distance.

Mountainside Church

76% of the population in Costa Rica is Roman Catholic, so it is not surprising that there are many churches in the city and in many small rural communities, along winding roads in the mountains. Sadly, many church doors are locked during the week due to theft, so I was only able to explore a couple of churches on Sunday before mass began. This particular church welcomed me with open arms, tripod and all. Translating for the local pastor, my colleague indicated it was ok to take pictures but that I should hurry up before the congregation arrived.

This photograph was taken from the edge of the parking lot looking out into the valley below. What a blessing it must be to leave mass on Sunday and to see God’s spectacular gift to us. Mother nature at her finest.

What strikes me most about people who live and work off the land, is the simplicity of their lifestyle and the pace at which they live. This man seemed to exemplify that sentiment and he willingly accepted my intrusive picture taking, as his patient demeener suggests. He stared back at me calmly, no doubt wondering why the heck I was so taken by this place and by him. In what little spanish I know, I thanked him for allowing me my simple pleasure.

This church, this view, this community was a spirit filled respite along a steep winding road in the mountains. Driving off the church grounds, I observed a number of families walking along the roadside, dressed in their Sunday best, on their way to worship and praise. Mine was a brief moment of feeling the depth and magnitude of this place of worship and it left an indelible mark.


3 responses to “Interesting People and Places

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  1. I find this fascinating on more than one level (level one being that this is a very compelling photograph). In my city of Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada, we have the Tranquille Sanatorium which is in an equally-crumbling state–equally-‘haunted’–equally-guarded and fenced-off from the public–equally-sought after by photographers. It was built as a TB Sanatorium in the early 20th Century, and added onto right through the 1950’s until the cure made it obsolete. It then became a school for children with significant challenges, and ultimately abandoned after that. Thank you for posting this. I wonder how many others are in existence? Ours was written up in a book entitled “A Whole Little City By Itself”.

  2. oops–I just left a comment under the wrong set of photos!

  3. That is interesting. You have to think that there are abandoned TB hospitals scattered all over the world. I bet it would make an interesting theme for a photography series. Appreciate the comments. Thanks for stopping by.

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