There are several villages around Antigua Guatemala, worth visiting with quite interesting attractions for visitors, each has a lot of colonial and religious history. In these series of articles, we will talk about two each week. For this first article, we’ll include two towns, San Pedro Las Huertas and San Bartolomé Becerra.
VILLAGES NEAR ANTIGUA GUATEMALA Ed. #1
San Pedro Las Huertas
Located at 15 mins (4.5 kms) from Antigua Guatemala.
Tranquility, history and beauty are the features which best describe San Pedro Las Huertas, a town that is located a few minutes from Antigua Guatemala and nearly two hours from Guatemala City.
The Central Catholic Church is its most important tourist attraction, it was re-built on 1672 and its design and construction has been dedicated to “San Pedro Apostol”, the original building was a much simple structure (1541), nowadays this church’s façade still preserves the Baroque features such as the Solomonic columns from the 17th century. It conserves its respective catholic images at the front and has a central body-building with an annex presided over by the bell-tower.
Efforts were made to preserve the natural texture of the original materials of the church, but earthquakes and time itself have not allowed this any longer, currently the church has been painted with a warm ocher color. This building has been recently restored (2008)
The village’s central square has a large public pond which has plenty space for laundry, local women come every day to wash clothes. Also in this park, a beautiful carved cross made of stone is found, it is surrounded by seats also made of stone, used by visitors to rest and admire the landscape.
A town that has grown in population, where fields of cultivation have become houses for the new inhabitants of a city as one of the quieter places around Antigua Guatemala, where wide streets and streets so narrow that only one vehicle can pass at a time are part of the landscape.
San Bartolomé Becerra
Located at 12 mins (3.5 kms) from Antigua Guatemala
Located only 2 kilometers from Antigua Guatemala, it was originally founded by Bartolomé Becerra, a captain of the Spanish Navy in 1528. His church has been rebuilt several times during its history, this is due to multiple earthquakes that damaged its structure, so it does not preserve much of the original materials of the building of the time. Over time, a new bell-tower was built on one side of the church's facade, and at the front of the church, a cross carved in stone which was donated by the Gomez Quiñonez family was placed in 1895 to celebrate the reconstruction and expansion of the building.
In the church the image of Jesus of the Nazarene of the Fall is venerated with great fervor. This popular sculpture image is also known as “San Bartolo”, the sculpture attributed to Pedro de Mendoza, who carved it in 1640 for the chapel of the San Jerónimo of the Mercedaria College Order, but was later moved to the church of San Bartolome Becerra. During Easter Week, tourists and local visitors come to this village to see the procession “Jesús Nazareno de la Caída”, which takes place on Sunday of Lent, a tradition that started on 1905. The procession is seen through the streets of the community and around the Retana coffee estate. Years later it extended the route towards the city of Antigua Guatemala.
The patronal festivity of San Bartolomé Becerra takes place every August 24th, with religious and cultural activities.