It is the fourth province of the Central Plateau, and is also the oldest. Established in 1563. It was the capital until 1823. A volcanic eruption in 1723 and earthquakes in 1841 and 1910 destroyed nearly all of the historic buildings. At an altitude of 1.435 meters, in a valley between the Central cordillera and that of Talamanca, close to Irazu Volcano, it is the third largest urban population in the country and is located  23 Km to the south east of San José; both cities are connected by a good road and good transportation services.