Not that many cities in Latin America has such beautiful and and iconic colonial buildings like Antigua Guatemala has, and this is one of the reasons why this colonial city is famous for.
The most visited places in Antigua Guatemala were churches and convents and many of them are standing in very good shape and very well preserved, and some others are ruins. Perhaps the most impressive of them all is the Central Cathedral, followed by La Merced and San Francisco el Grande church. Taking a walk along its cobbled streets, visit and admire the architecture and atmosphere is a great way to step back into the days of the Spanish colony and know about the history of Guatemala.
We are sharing some of the most popular ones and open to the public and can be seen in Antigua Guatemala (some of these have been partially reconstructed).
This iconic building was built in 1541, but later destroyed by a powerful earthquake, but then rebuilt in 1680. The 1773 earthquake damaged this historic building again (as it destroyed lots of the oldest colonial buildings and churches in town). The Cathedral was partially reconstructed once more, just recently older and un-accessible areas of the building have been restored. This building is located in front of the central park.
La Merced Church
This beautiful building has a very important presence among the Catholic people, in fact, this church reigns in town. No wonder why the most important processions for the Holy Week (Easter Week / Semana Santa) belong to this church, as well as other important religious events in town. This building is full of antiques, art and sculptures, also surrounded by ruins, it worth visiting.
San Francisco Church
It is one of the oldest churches in town, and like La Merced, it is also very active. The building is very well preserved and it a clear example of the baroque style of spanish times. Located in the South/East side of the city, this huge building is a must visit. The decoration, art and sculptures are quite impressive to see.
Santo Domingo Church
This historic building is one of the most popular ones, dates back to the 16th century. Inside is located the very famous Santo Domingo hotel (five star hotel - host to many events and hundreds of guest/travelers daily). The building was a convent in the old days, but just like many buildings in town, destroyed by earthquakes. The remains of the actual church is inside the ‘cultural center’ of the hotel.
This building was damaged by the earthquake of 1773 and abandoned for almost 200 years, the restored in 1940. The original name for this convent was ‘Our Lady of the Pilar of Zaragoza’ (Nuestra Señora del Pilar de Zaragoza), but know today as Capuchinas. The nuns of the Roman Catholic order lived there, known for their brown garments and by living in very extreme and hard conditions. This ruins are open to the public so you can travel back in time to see how they lived in the small cells, small back courtyards and gardens.