Antigua Guatemala

Antigua Guatemala

Infobox Settlement
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nickname = Antigua or La Antigua
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image_caption = The Santa Catalina arch - Antigua Guatemala

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pushpin_label_position =bottom
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pushpin_map_caption =Location in Guatemala
subdivision_type = Country
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subdivision_name1 = Sacatepéquez
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population_total =34,685 as of last census (2007)
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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 [ [, citing S.D. Markman, "Colonial Architecture of Antigua Guatemala"] ] 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.


The city had a peak population of some 60,000 in the 1770s; the bulk of the population moved away in the late 18th century. Despite significant population growth in the late 20th century, the city had only reached half that number by the 1990s. According to the 2007 census, the city has some 34,685 inhabitants.

"La Antigua Guatemala" means the "Old Guatemala" and was the third capital of Guatemala. The first capital of Guatemala was founded on the site of a Kakchikel-Maya city, now called Iximche, on July 25, 1524 -the day of Saint James- and therefore named Ciudad de Santiago de los Caballeros de Goathemalan (City of Saint James of the Knights of Guatemala). Naturally, St. James became the patron saint of the city. After several Cakchiquel uprisings, the capital was moved to a more suitable site in the Valley of Almolonga on November 22, 1527, and kept its original name. When this city, now named Ciudad Vieja, was destroyed on September 11, 1541 by a devastating mudflow emanating from the Volcán de Agua, [cite web | url= | publisher=Smithsonian Institute Global Volcanism Program | title=Agua Volcano | author= | accessdate=2008-08-03 | format=] the colonial authorities decided to move once more, this time to the Valley of Panchoy. So, on March 10, 1543 the Spanish conquistadors founded present-day Antigua, and again, it was named Santiago de los Caballeros. For more than 200 years it served as the seat of the military governor of the Spanish colony of Guatemala, a large region that included almost all of present-day Central America and the southernmost State of Mexico: Chiapas. In 1566 King Felipe II of Spain gave it the title of"Muy Noble y Muy Leal" ("Very Noble and Very Loyal").

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.

Antigua today

Infobox World Heritage Site
WHS = Antigua Guatemala

State Party = GUA
Type = Cultural
Criteria = ii, iii, iv
ID = 65
Region = Latin America and the Caribbean
Year = 1979
Session = 3rd
Link =

Central Park (Parque Central) is the heart of the city. The reconstructed fountain there is a popular gathering spot. Off to the side of the Central Park, the Arco de Santa Catalina is among the many notable architectural landmarks of La Antigua. through the streets of Antigua.

There are many Spanish language schools located in Antigua.

Tourism is a major part of the local economy.

Important Ruins and other tourist attractions

* 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
* The Jade museum
* Maria Eskenasy Fine Art, The Artist´s Studio and Gallery


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.


External links

* [ Antigua Guatemala Map]
* [ Que Pasa en Antigua]

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Look at other dictionaries:

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