Visit Antigua Guatemala – A Beautiful City With Large Open Squares
It is possible, to sum up, La Antigua Guatemala (commonly referred to as just Antigua or La Antigua) in just one word, Baroque. The third incarnation of the city of Santiago de los Caballeros, it was badly damaged by earthquakes and abandoned in favor of new capital, in 1776. For the previous two centuries and more it had been the seat of the Spanish colony of Guatemala’s governor and like its two predecessors — one of which was abandoned because of uprisings by the indigenous inhabitants and the other after flooding caused a mudslide that buried it — named after St James. It was declared a World Heritage Site in 1979.
The city is dominated by three peaks, the Volcan de Agua, Acatenango and the active Volcan de Fuego.
Architectural highlights here include the Palacio de Los Capitanes Generales and the Catedral. The original of this building was completed in 1680, and it has been rebuilt several times. In its current form, it is only a fraction of the size of the original, and some of the ruins are open to the public. Similarly, the Palacio de Los Capitanes Generales is only part of what was originally a much larger complex. The Ayuntamiento (city hall) across the square was one of the few buildings to survive the 1773 earthquake more or less intact, and now houses the Museo de Santiago and the Museo del Libro, while the old university buildings by the Catedral house the Museo de Arte Colonial.
Elsewhere in the city are ruins of other old buildings — many of them draped in bougainvillea vines — including the old Capuchin convent, with its individual novice’ cells and mysterious underground chamber. The Merced Church is one of the most beautiful, with ornate stucco decoration on the facade.
Antigua Guatemala is a beautiful city, with large open squares, stunning architecture and beautiful ruins. It retains its old-world atmosphere and is a must visit for anyone who loves Baroque architecture.
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When To Travel To Visit Antigua Guatemala
Any time of year.
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- The Fountain of the Sirens in the Plaza de Armas.
- The celebrations during Lent and Holy Week, especially the Good Friday procession.
- The cloister of Santa Clara Convent.
The area is still prone to destructive earthquakes and the city has been built and rebuilt time and time again.