San José Church


San José Church , located in Old San Juan within the historic colonial section of the capital of Puerto Rico, is one of the first significant works of architecture on the island. In 1858, the church passed from the Dominican friars to the Jesuit Order and was renamed the Church of San Juan. Under this new leadership, the church was transformed. The interior design, decoration, and furnishings changed significantly to reflect the fashionable neoclassical style. In 1887, the church was again transferred, this time to the Vicentian Fathers (Padres Paules), who redecorated the interior of the church for the third time in the building’s history. The church is one of the earliest surviving examples of 16th century Spanish Gothic architecture in the Western hemisphere. The famous Puerto Rican artist Jose Campeche is buried at the church and for a while Juan Ponce de Leon was buried at the church as well before his tomb was moved to San Juan Bautista Cathedral a few blocks away. The church has gone through extensive renovations over the past several years and construction has been slow progressing. The interior of the church featured early frescos depicting maritime references pertinent to Spanish explorers during their first forays in the Americas. The main chapel included early mural paintings in its cupola. The church holds historic significance as well, once housing the remains of Juan Ponce de León as well as those of other historic national figures.

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