Sanatorium Duran: History and Photos
Sanatorium Duran, also known as the Carlos Durán Sanatorium, is a beautiful abandoned hospital located in the province of Cartago in Costa Rica. Originally built for Tuberculosis patients in the early twentieth century, it is now a great place for urban exploration.
The location also has had it’s share of ghostly tales over the years as well including the ghosts of a nun that once treated the sick patients.
The facilities were founded by Dr. Carlos Durán Cartin, who after extensive research into the best treatments for Tuberculosis and visiting many TB hospitals abroad, returned to Costa Rica to build the Sanatorium Duran, pushed by the state of his daughter, who was suffering from TB.
Construction of the hospital began in 1915, with the location chosen based on atmospheric conditions that were believed to be beneficial to tuberculosis patients at that time, such as humidity, temperature and how many hours of sunlight the location got each day. Fresh air and sunlight was believed to be one of the best treatments for TB in the early 1900’s.
The Sanatorium Duran also benefited from being far away from any major population centers as Tuberculosis was a very contagious disease that was taken very seriously by the general public.
When the Sanatorium was at it’s peak, it had over three-hundred beds and employed three doctors on it’s staff, although the facilities were run primarily by the Sisters of Charity of St. Anne.
As medicine moved forward and TB was not the threat it once was, the hospital started to fall into an era of decline, and the site went from a TB hospital to being used as a prison and a mental asylum before lack of a viable use and damage to the site due to eruptions of the Irazu Volcano forced the site to be closed for good in 1973.
Ghostly Goings On:
Of course, much like former TB hospitals Waverly Hills in Kentucky and the Lima TB hospital in Ohio, the buildings ominous past and state of disrepair have brought about some creepy stories and legends.
As for the tales themselves, a ghostly nun has been seen by some of the former inmates of the asylum and prison after it was no longer used as a hospital, continuing her mission to help TB patients in death as she did in life.
Besides the nun, ghostly cold spots and winds have been reported as well as the apparitions of former patients.
A Visit to the Sanatorium Duran:
Regardless of whether the Sanatorium is the location of a haunting or not, the buildings and grounds still make for a great urban exploration experience.
Recently, Mary Flores was kind enough to share her experiences touring the Sanatorium Duran with us, as well as some pictures she took while she was there:
“When I heard the story’s about Sanatorio Duran I was really impressed for the story of the place as a hospital for people with tuberculosis and then the haunting
For many years the place could not be officially visited by the public but now many people go to see if the stories are true or just for visit to a very historic location in Costa Rica and to take pictures of the abandoned buildings.
I went to the Sanatorium Duran on a Sunday morning with my father and my brother after an hour’s drive .The grounds were full of people and the weather was pretty cold. Later it started to rain a bit but the crowds remained.
I remember feeling sadness while I was there and could practicably smell the death but as my father always said: “come on take the pictures and ignore those details, is just that the weather is very cold. The other people on the tour really wanted to see a ghost and seemed to be there just to see if the place is haunted or not.
Around the principal building you can see abandoned houses that belonged to the doctors and nurses of the hospital. Some people actually still live in these outer building as they are the caretakers. I felt like someone was watching me in some of the windows of the buildings and the funny thing is that I am skeptic.
But my passion is photography and this was my main goal when I wanted to come visit the location, not to see if ghostly nuns really stalked the halls of the abandoned hospital.
After my experience at the Sanatorium Duran I still think that the government should rebuild it and make a museum or something like that out of it as the place is very famous here. As a matter of fact many bands went to make their own video clips here years ago.
Ironically after my trip to the Sanatorium my perspective of the location changed a little bit and when I see the pictures of the place I feel the same eerie feelings that I felt when I was at the Sanatorium over a year ago…”
Below you can find a couple video links about the Sanatorium.
A very big thank you to Mary Flores for sharing her experiences with us as well as her exclusive pictures of the Sanatorium.
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