La Antigua Guatemala
The Central Plaza is located at apporximately 45 kms. It is the third capital established by the Spaniards after the terrible flood of the Almolonga Valley on September 11, 1541. It was founded on 1543 and originally named Ciudad de los Caballeros en Guatemala in 1566. After surviving plagues, earthquakes and floods, it was destroyed by the quake of 1773. Despite having been an outcast and abandoned city, inhabitants gradually began given life to the new capital city, and one of the most attractive touristic points of Guatemala today due to its impressive colonial architecture. La Antigua is a jewel of colonial architecture and conserves its characteristics as if time had stood still. Due to its historical and cultural value, it was declared by UNESCO as a Patrimony of Humanity in 1979.
Religion: Catholic – Christian
Fair: July 25th
Temperature: Maximum 22.7˚ C – Minimum 14.0˚ C
Places of Interest:
Arms Museum of Santiago de los Caballeros
Located on the first floor of the town hall, this museum offers an interesting collection of arms, paintings, sculptures and colonial furnishings. Open daily from 9:00 to 12:00 and from 14:00 to 18:00.
Antique Book Museum
This museum displays a valuable collection of original books and documents published in Guatemala during the colonial period (1660 to 1821). It is located on the first floor of the town hall and open daily from 9:00 to 12:00 and from 14:00 to 18:00
Museum of Colonial Art
Located in the former central office of the University of San Carlos de de Borromeo which was founded by the Real Cédula of Carlos II on January 31st, 1767… On display are artistic treasures of the colonial period, including an excellent painting of Pedro de Alvarado, Spanish conquistador of Guatemala. Open every day from 9:00 to 12:00 and from 14:00 to 18:00.
House of Popenoe
Constructed during the first half of the 17th century, the house has maintained its original furniture along with other various objects and one of the most interesting kitchens of the era. Thanks to careful conservation work this house has not lost the character of an aristocratic mansion of those times. Open every day except Sundays from 15:00 to 17:00.
House of K’ojom (Azotea Cultural Center)
Located on Calle de la Recolección (Street of the Harvest), this is a center for the investigation of traditional Guatemalan music and includes a museum of traditional musical instruments. Open Monday through Friday from 9:30 to 12:30 and from 14:00 to 17:00. Saturdays from 9:30 to 12:30 and 14:00 to 16:00.
Antigua Guatemala Cultural Center
Enjoy a variety of cultural and social activities with various expositions where you can find a variety of information on artists of Sacatepéquez. Located on the corner of 4th Avenue North and 4th Street East.
Adjoining the Cultural Center, the library contains antique books and documents of great historical and cultural value. The Center for Mesoamerican Research (CIRMA) has an excellent library, both textual and photographic, of great value relating to Mesoamerica. It is located on 5th Street East, number 5.
Antigua has important galleries for art lovers. You will find some of them on 3rd Avenue North between 3rd and 4th street. Open to the public from 9:00 to 19:00.
San Felipe, San Juan del Obispo, Santa María de Jesús, San Antonio Aguas Calientes, Ciudad Vieja and Santa Catarina Barahona are some of the indigenous communities, centers for traditional weaving and handicrafts , that surround Antigua. The department of Sacatepéquez is situated at the center of the Republic of Guatemala. It is the smallest department with only 465 kilometers squared, but it is also the most populated. According to the 2002 census, total inhabitants had risen to 260,250, 41.6% of whom are indigenous Cakchiquel.
In terms of popular handicrafts, this is one of the most important areas in Guatemala, where they produce traditional fabrics, traditional glazed and molded ceramics, basketwork, rope, musical instruments, carvings, ironwork, pyrotechnics and silverwork.
Antigua, Guatemala is rich in traditional textiles, and visitors can see a variety of typical dress used by indigenous peoples. It has been primarily women who have preserved this tradition, since the majority of men have stopped using traditional outfits. Among the municipalities that produce these cotton weavings are Santo Domingo Xenacoj, Sumpango, Santiago Sacatepéquez, Pastores, Jocotenango, Santa Catarina Barahona, San Antonio Aguas Calientes, La Antigua Guatemala, San Lucas Sacatepéquez, Ciudad Vieja, Magdalena Milpas Altas and Santa María de Jesús.
Ceramics in Antigua, Guatemala fall into three catagories; glazed, painted and molded. The Hispanic-Moorish potters of Cordoba, Sevilla, Murcia and Mayorca introduced the glazed ceramics in Spain. And when it was discovered, the art of molding spanned the highlands of Guatemala. Ceramics were used by the Spaniards and Creoles, but not by the indigenous populations; they were green, orange and blue on white base. Currently, Antigua, Guatemala is the number one producer of molded ceramics, using clay from the area of El Tejar and local white sand. Painted ceramics frequently take the shape of fruits and vegetables, most commonly produced in Pastores and San Miguel Dueñas. Included in this category is what is referred to as transition pottery, ceramics that do not use a potter’s wheel, are partially glazed and fired in open air as opposed to a kiln.
This is the art of interweaving fiber to produce recipients or flat objects. From ancient times when man survived as a nomadic hunter, humans have woven baskets and other products from vegetable fiber to store and carry various items. The raw materials used are diverse and can include; palm, tulle, wicker, cibaque, straw, bamboo and wood. Bamboo and wood are primarily used as a base, footing or warp for the weaving. Among the municipalities that produce this type of product are Jocotenango, San Bartolomé Milpas Altas, Santa Catarina Barahona, San Miguel Dueñas, Ciudad Vieja y Alotenango.
Ropemaking is considered an art, from which one can make hammocks, nets, bags and reins. Thoducts of this type are produced in Jocotenango, Santa Catarina Barahona, Ciudad Vieja, Santa María de Jesús y Alotenango.
These mats are made of palm, which is a plant in the palmier family whose leaves and core are used in the production of handicrafts. These mats are made exclusively in the municipality of San Antonio Aguas Calientes.
Pine and cedar are used and combined to make various instruments, and their exterior is varnished to conserve the natural color of the wood. These instruments include guitars, violins and double basses. Among the municipalities where these instruments are made are Jocotenango, La Antigua Guatemala, Ciudad Vieja and San Antonio Aguas Calientes.
Gold and Silversmithing
Among the articles crafted with silver and gold are chains, bracelets, rings, bangles and charms. These smiths work primarily in Antigua (both silver and gold) and Santa María de Jesús (silver only). Lamps and candelabras are made of tinplate and fabricated in the municipalities of Antigua, Santa María de Jesús and San Antonio Aguas Calientes.
This category includes candles of various sizes and colors and votives in the shape of people or busts. These are made in the Municipalities of Santo Domingo Xenacoj, Sumpango, Pastores, La Antigua Guatemala, Ciudad Vieja y San Miguel Dueñas.
Metalurgy is the art of working with metals. Among them is iron, with which balconies, streetlamps, tables, doorknockers and table lamps are made. This art is practiced in the municipalities of Santiago Sacatepéquez, San Antonio Aguas Calientes, La Antigua Guatemala, Santa María de Jesús y Alotenango.
There is a diversity of jobs and specialties, which are classified according to the products they produce and the techniques employed. Leather is worked primarily in Antigua, Guatemala where you can find bags, wallets, satchels, billfolds, suitcases and belts.