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Goto-guatemala.com is one of a group of affiliate sites dedicated to travel in Guatemala and Belize. On our site, www.visit-antigua.com, you can find out where to stay, what to do and how to get there.
La Antigua Guatemala (commonly referred to as just Antigua or La Antigua) is a city in the central highlands of Guatemala famous for its well-preserved Spanish Mudéjar-influenced Baroque architecture as well as a number of spectacular ruins of colonial churches. It has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Antigua Guatemala serves as the municipal seat for the surrounding municipality of the same name. It also serves as the departmental capital of Sacatepéquez Department.
On September 29, 1717, an estimated 7.4 magnitude earthquake hit Antigua Guatemala, and destroyed over 3,000 buildings. Much of the city's architecture was ruined. The damage the earthquake did to the city made authorities consider moving the capital to another city.
In 1773, a series of earthquakes destroyed much of the town, which led to the third change in location for the city. The Spanish Crown ordered (1776) the removal of the capital to a safer location, the Valley of the Shrine, where Guatemala City, the modern capital of Guatemala, now stands. This new city did not retain its old name and was christened Nueva Guatemala de la Asunción (New Guatemala of the Ascension) and its patron saint is Our Lady of Ascension. The badly damaged city of Santiago de los Caballeros was ordered abandoned, although not everyone left, and was referred to as La Antigua Guatemala, or Old Guatemala.
La Antigua is noted for its very elaborate religious celebrations during Lent (Cuaresma), leading up to Holy Week (Semana Santa) and Easter(Pascua). Each Sunday in Lent, one of the local parishes sponsor a Procession through the streets of Antigua.
Important Ruins and other tourist attractions
- La Merced Church
- Church and Convent of Capuchins
- Cathedral of San José
- Ruins of old San José
- Old weapons Museum
- Church School of Christ
- Church of San Francisco
- Museum of Santo Domingo
- Museum of the Old Book (El Libro Antiguo)
- Museum of Colonial Art, in the former San Carlos University Building
Three large volcanoes dominate the horizon around Antigua.
The most commanding, to the south of the city, is the Volcán de Agua or "Volcano of Water", some 3766 meters (12,356 ft) high. When the Spanish arrived, the inhabitants of the zone, Kakchikel Mayas, called it Hunapú (and they still do). However, it became known as Volcán de Agua after a mudslide from the volcano buried the second site of the capital, which prompted the Spanish authorities to move the capital to present-day Antigua. The original site of the 2nd capital is a village now known as "Ciudad Vieja", ("The Old City").
To the west of the city are a pair of peaks, Acatenango, last erupted in 1972, some 3976 meters (13045 ft) high, and the Volcán de Fuego or "Volcano of Fire", some 3763 meters (12346 ft) high. "Fuego" is famous for being almost constantly active at a low level. Smoke issues from its top daily, but larger eruptions are rare.