Founded on March 10, 1543, La Antigua Guatemala was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1979. This beautiful and magical colonial city has almost five hundred years of history, with a privileged climate and an exceptional view of the Fire and Acatenango volcanoes.
La Antigua was built in the Panchoy Valley, and named the third seat of the capital of Guatemala. In this city, time stopped and was trapped in the thick walls of its temples, monasteries and colonial houses. This colorful town still has restored buildings from the 16th century, and can be walked on foot through its cobbled streets.
From Cerro de la Cruz, located northeast of the city, La Antigua Guatemala looks impressive. Also, the emblematic Water Volcano, which has witnessed the glories and falls of the population, is admirable. The beauty of this city lies in each of its details. Those who visit it are amazed by its historical attractions, and ancient temples and monasteries that are part of its legacy.
After having experienced several earthquakes, has remained detained in time and is admired for its cobblestone streets, colonial houses, civil monuments, legends and traditions.
The main tourist attractions of La Antigua are the Palace of the General Captains, the Convent and Arch of Santa Catalina, the Plaza Mayor, the Jade Museum, the Antigua Guatemala Cathedral, the Museum of the University of San Carlos, the Holy Route of Brother Pedro, among others. The city is also rich in handicrafts such as traditional weavings, ceramics, silver and gold products, ceramics, metallic products, typical sweets and gastronomy.
To get to La Antigua Guatemala from Guatemala City, take the CA-1 road, going through the Roosevelt Causeway, and then by San Lucas Sacatepéquez. Antigua is located 40 kilometers from the center of the capital city.
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La Antigua Guatemala was the colonial Spanish capital of Central America. It is a World Heritage Site, and is perhaps the most popular tourist destination in Guatemala.
Antigua is a growing tourist destination in Guatemala as it is close to Guatemala City but is much calmer and safer, with more tourist oriented activities. It is possible to take buses from Antigua to many parts of Guatemala, many travel agencies offer shuttles to the main touristic places: Monterrico beach, Atitlan Lake, Coban, Lanquín (Semuc Champey), or Tikal, though the transportation is more central in Guatemala City. Antigua is also known for its chocolate makers.
Inguat Tourist Office, 2a Calle Oriente #11 (between Avenidas 3a and 2a), 7832-3782 ([email protected]). M-F 8AM-5PM, Sa Su 9AM-5PM.
Historically, the area was considered to be one of the finest agriculturally in Guatemala. Tourism is the main driver of the economy. Antigua is also a coffee-producing region of Anacafé.
Now commonly referred to as just Antigua (or La Antigua), the city was one of the grand colonial capitals of the Spanish Empire in America from the 16th-18th centuries. Under the name Santiago de los Caballeros de Guatemala, it was the original "Guatemala City". A disastrous earthquake in 1773 destroyed or damaged most of the city, and the Spanish crown ordered the capital moved to a new city, what became the modern Guatemala City. In 1776 this old city was ordered abandoned. Not everyone left, but it turned from a bustling capital into a provincial town, filled with the ruins of its former glory. It became known as "Antigua Guatemala", meaning "Old Guatemala".
In the 20th century there was increasing appreciation for the large amount of preserved colonial Spanish architecture here, development to host visitors, and the city was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1979.