A little to the south of Plaza San José, on Cristo street, you will find the Center for Advance Studies on Puerto Rico and the Caribbean, a beautiful colonial building painted in gray with peach trim. You will find it on your right hand side walking downhill about half way down before reaching the intersection with Calle Sol. The building was inaugurated in 1832 as the “Semniario Conciliar”, where many of the Island’s priests and secular students trained for over a century. Many of Puerto Rico’s finest politicians and thinkers trained at the “Semniario Conciliar”, including: Alejandro Tapia y Rivera, Román Baldorioty de Castro, José Julián Acosta, Calletano Coll y Toste and José Celso Barbosa.
Queen Isabel II was instrumental in converting the “Seminario Conciliar” into the Island’s premier educational facility in areas such as: physics, chemistry, literature, grammar, rhetoric, arithmetic, geometry, logic, cosmography, metaphysics and foreign languages.
In 1900 the Seminar closed its doors and the abandoned building served as a Catholic school for several years. During the 20th Century the building was returned to its original use for several decades and was finally condemned in 1972.
In 1984 the building was remodeled under the guidance of Ricardo Alegría and has since been the home of the Center for Advance Studies on Puerto Rico and the Caribbean. The building’s beautiful architecture and center courtyard are well worth the visit.