Plan of the church of San Jose, 1996

The church is the oldest church in Puerto Rico and the second oldest in the Americas. The original plans date to 1523, during the bishopric of Alonso Manso, the first bishop of the New World. Its master walls were built in 1532.

It is also considered to be the pantheon of the family of Juan Ponce de Leon. Many of their remains are buried in the crypt beneath the Sanctuary's floor. During the Spanish rule, many early governors also chose this as their final resting place. Juan Ponce de Leon II, author of the Relacion de Puerto Rico and first chronicler of the island is buried here.

The noted Puerto Rican painter, Jose Campeche, along with some of his ancestors, is buried in the chapel of the Rosary of the San Jose Church. Press here to see another image...

Copyright, Lily Díaz 1994