CAPITAL CITY OF GUATEMALA
capital city was transferred in 1776 to the valley of La Ermita, or
Valle de La Virgen as it is also known.
La Nueva Guatemala of the Asuncion, which is the official name of the city is still located in
this Valley. In this new site, the
capital went through outstanding changes, mixes and destruction in its
architecture, inhabited since the pre-classic Mayan times when the Mayan centre Kaminal Juyu
was very strong in the obsidian trade business in the year 600 A.D. and
lagoons where spoting all over the valley.
Monumental public buildings, churches and Homes were constructed under the
influence of 22 world arquitectonical styles with predominance of the
neoclassic style and the Guatemalan colonial style, which respected the grid layout of
the streets and plazas.
A fantastic new museum was built in the Miraflores area dedicated only to this pre
classic Maya site of Kaminal Juyu, also the biggest archaeological
national museum is literally full of many remains from all over the
country, unfortunately many of them are lying in the museum basement
in boxes waiting for better days. Many other museums are located in the
historic center of the city which is the place you must visit while in
the city. Also to have some night fun or eat the best place is the
new cultural district named 4º. Norte which is located bordering south of
the historic center is closed mondays.
this wide spread metropolis with over two million inhabitants presents a picture of
contrasts between the colonial and the neoclassic architecture that
combined with "modern" US style buildings at the Zona Viva and which, complemented with its museums
and historic monuments, offer the visitors a strong travel experience.
convenience most tours have their starting point in Guatemala City where
the main International Aurora
Airport connects the country with the rest of the world and internally
with the main points of tourist interest.
City, is a very active and cosmopolitan hub and very important in the
country experience, to understand Guatemala you MUST experience "La
Ciudad", Guate city has every service that any
demanding visitor may expect to find in a business or a pleasure trip.
Hotel of several categories are available "El Centro" as part
zone 1 is call is the real live zone of the city, all political-
econonomical changes that influence the country take place here, their
streets are a mix of beautiful old houses and modern buildings built by
the "old families" are full
of life and fighting to survive the municipality attacks against the
traditional ways of rescue the historical centers in Mesoamerica. The best prices of the country for artesian
goods are in the underground central market,
business are located in the so called "business-residential areas"
of zone 10, 9 and 14th and
some other commercial areas in zone 11th which allow the visitor to select what will
meet his or her needs best. In fact is hard to distinguish the
residential from the commercial areas (if there is any), maybe because
the lack of parameters and enforcement of the urban regulations.
city also has the necessary infrastructure to hold very large conventions and
business meetings. A
wide variety or restaurants offers a diversity of menus and
specialties for the enjoyment of the most demanding palate.
Capital City offers many cultural activities that are hard to find
unless you read the news papers cultural sections. The Civic Center
concentrates one of the most modern and attractive architectural
complexes of the country build from a military fort of San Jose now call
the Miguel Angel Asturias Cultural Center, and
in it, the National Theater, dance and musical events are held more or
Art Galleries, scattered throughout the city, exhibit the art of national and foreign artists.
Guatemala City is an international metropolis, its inhabitants preserve
traditions that date back to the time of the Colony, many of them
religious events that reach their highest splendor with the processions
of Easter Week that are larger then the famous ones of Antigua.
City is linked to other cities and tourist attractions through a wide
network of paved highways and an efficient service of all kind of buses, taxis and
car rental companies. There are banking services almost everywhere.
Yes, Guatemala city is an important start
point of your journey and a key stone to understand our culture,
unfortunately the historical center has being suffering the attack of
modernists oriented authorities (including INGUAT, the central Government
and the municipality) so visit it and enjoy the remaining old
buildings and culture before they are gone and help us protect them from official
and civil blindness.
PLAZA OR CONSTITUTION PLAZA
is in the heart of the Historical Center of Guatemala City, if you at Guate city on Sunday this is the place to visit and
enjoy the "Muchachas" from distant indian towns wearing their
best expensive typical dresses whyle they are looking for a boyfriend or
having an "atol de elote and tostadas", buying "cortes"
(Mayan Squirts) or just walking around, a must see experience if
you like to observe the Guatemalan textiles at their peak in variety
and luxury . It was
remodeled after the 1976 earthquake, the park was preserved but an
underground parking lot was built underneath it, The "Plaza
Centerario" is next to it and is the place where the Central American independence
was proclaimed in 1821 the original colonial government center was
located here and was demolished by Jorge Ubico who wanted to build a
neo-classic style building (the actual national palace). It is surrounded by other important
monuments, The National Palace has now ceased to be a house of
government to become the National Palace of Culture and museum (ID need to
enter) , the
Metropolitan Cathedral and the Trade Arcade where the famous "El
Portalito" bar remembers where the CHE GUEVARA , FIDEL CASTRO and other
famous guerrilleros and famous people use to have drinks, also the
Bohemian Bar call "las cien puertas" are located. Close by,
the "Biblioteca Nacional y Hemeroteca Nacional", the Library and the General Archive of Central
America. Many important political events, revolutions, the peace
treaties signature and demonstrations have take place here.
PALACE OF CULTURE:
is one of the most important achievements of last century Guatemala’s
architecture (Specially for the price paid).
Its eclectic style is a combination of colonial architecture with French
and neo-classic influence. It covers 8,860 square meters and is made of
concrete and brick covered by an artificial green stone. Its
construction was ordered in 1939 by President Jorge Ubico to Rafael
de Leon. It was completed in 1943. The best expressions of the
Guatemalan artist of the forties are seen here, in the murals by Alfredo
Galvez Suarez, that tell the history of pre-hispanic Guatemala to the
time of the Independence, the stained-glass windows by Julio Urruela-Vasquez
and his collaborators Guillermo Grajeda Mena, Dagoberto Vasquez, Robeto
Gonzalez-Goyri and decorations by Rodolfo Galeotti Torres and Carlos
Rigalt. The National
Palace of Culture is open to visitors from 8.00 am to 3.00 pm.
was built between 1782 and 1815 shelters may artistic treasures that
were originally in the Cathedral of Antigua Guatemala. The Cathedral has
lived through three earthquakes, in 1830,1917 and 1976. Worth seeing are
the altars to both sides of the central aisle, that still preserve
many of the images of Saints and relics of the churches in Antigua
Guatemala brought here when the cathedral was transferred to Guatemala
City. These altars present a clear contrast with the austerity of the
rest of the construction. To one side is the Palace of the Archbishop,
see of the highest hierarchy where there are currently several church
MARKET (best prices and variety IN THE COUNTRY)
Underground Market was constructed over the old one after the 1976 earthquake
destroyed it. All kinds of
handicrafts may be found here (carved wood, items in leather and metal,
textiles, silverware, ceramic, paints and MANY others). The Market also sells fresh
fruit, vegetables, grains and meat and it is a dining place for people
who live and work in its surroundings. It is open to the public from
7.00 am to 6.00 pm and Sunday from 6.00 am to 12.00 noon.
MAP (Do not miss it)
Map is in zone 2, at the Hipodromo del Norte, close to the Minerva base
ball park. It was built in 1904 under
the direction of Francisco Vela imagine to build it now without the help
of any satellite pictures or planes, the guy walked during 5 years by
mule to get all the topographic data to build it. Is unique in the
world due its 2000 square meters area. The map shows the country (All
the country including the stolen Belize) at a 1:1000
scale in 40 by 80 meter complex and includes the topography of Guatemala
and its geographic accidents and villages, will give you a good idea why
a 30 mile distance in Guatemala is NOT a short drive. It may be seen from
two towers that are strategically located. It is made of masonry and
concrete and has as special hydraulic system able to simulate the rivers
of the country. Public buses 1, 45 and 46 take you
from the 5th avenue in zone 1 also the "GUSANOS"
red long buses from Avenida las Americas y Reforma Avenue and
the zone 11. Hours: 9.00 am to 5.00 pm
Admission: $2.00 or walk 2 miles north on 6 ave all the way in
zone 1. from the national palace
Catholic churches are located in zone 1 and offer interesting sample of
neo-classic architecture. The works of art of the XVI and XIX century
may be admired inside. Outstanding for their sculpture and artistic
works are: La Merced (a must see), located on 11th avenue and 5th street, of the
neoclassic style and home perhaps some of the richest altar-pieces and
colonial furniture and other assets. Capuchinas, of baroque style, is
famous for its altar-pieces, carved figures and paintings. It is located
at 10th avenue and 10th
street zone 1. San Francisco is the church where the image of the Virgin
of Conception is venerated and commemorated on December 8.
It is an Italian neo-classic building and famous for its main
altar and the image of Christ.
Santo Domingo, is a Basilica and is dedicated to the Virgin of the
Rosary venerated during the month of October. The church has paintings
by famous Zurbaran among its treasures. It is located at number 10-09 of
12th avenue in zone 1. The Cerrito del Carmen Church is considered a
historic jewel because it was the first church built in the Ermita
Valley, in 1620. Its altar-piece, dedicated to the Virgin of El Carmen,
is very famous. The entire hill where the church rises is being
Civic Center is a set of buildings constructed between the 50’s and
60’s and includes: The Supreme Court of Justice, The Ministry of
Public Finance, City Hall, The Social Security, The Bank of Guatemala,
The National Mortgage Bank and the Guatemalan Tourism Commission. The
Bank of Guatemala house a library and its exterior is decorated with
high relief mural by Dagoberto Vasquez describing the history of the
Country. Both, City Hall and Social Security buildings are decorated
mosaic by Carlos Merida.
ANGEL ASTURIAS CULTURAL CENTER
complex was designed by Efrain Recinos, an artist as well as Engineer.
It is worth seeing both because of its location from west to east,
visitors can admire the city from a singular point
and enjoy its beautiful modernist architecture. The
complex has a Grand Theater with 2068 seats, a Chamber Theater and an
Open-air Theater, plazas, rehearsal rooms, workshops and conference
rooms as well as an old arms museum.
Botanical Garden is located on La Reforma Avenue and has thousands of
different local flora species also reptiles and fossils. Most of them are properly identified with their
scientific and their common name. This is a nice relaxing visit.
Avenida la Reforma 0-63 zona 10
Phone numbers 2331-0904
Hours: monday to saturday
from 8.30 am to 15.30 pm. Entrance
you have an interest in Mayan and Colonial art you should not miss this
museum, where you can see a valuable collection of pre-Hispanic art
(sculpture in stone, polychrome ceramic, incensories, and burial
chambers). In addition, there es a colonial art section and a folklore
section the exhibits indigenous clothing and traditional dance masks and
ask to project the videos. A
visit to the museum is truly a must in Guatemala City.
6ª Calle final Campus Universidad Francisco
Hours: Monday to friday from
9.00am to 5.00 pm. Saturday
9.00 am to 1.00pm
Entrance fee Q 20.00 Adults Q 6.00 Children
MUSEUM OF MAYAN COSTUMES
museum opened in 1973 as a non-profit private organization (ONG) And its
name was inspired in Ixchel, de Mayan goddess of fertility and of
weaving in the pre-Hispanic era. The museum has a vast collection of
textiles dating back to the end of the last century to our days, which
come from approximately 120 communities, most of them in the highlands.
The museum keeps two permanent collections of paintings: That of Carmen
Pettersen, consisting of 61 water-color paintings illustrating the
regional costumes of the Mayas and that of Andres Curruchiche, a Mayan-Kakchiquel
artist from Comalapa, with 48 oleos.
Address 6ª calle final campus Universidad Francisco Marroquin
Zona 10 Phones
2331-3739 2331-3638 2331-3622 Hours: Monday
to friday from 8.00 am to 5.30 pm.
fee Q 20.00.
AURORA NATIONAL ZOO
Zoo opened its doors to the public in 1925. It is home to a large number
of native animals and from other regions in the world. It was recently
remodeled and walking trough it is very pleasant.
Address: Blvd. Liberacion zona 13 Finca Nacional La Aurora
2475 0894 2472 0507. Hours Tuesday
to Sunday from 9.00 am to 5.00 pm. Entrance fee
Q 8.00 adults
Q 3.00 Children
AND ETHNOLOGY MUSEUM (Do not miss it)
Museum is locate in an area where there are other museums, (Natural
History, Modern Art and History museums) in zone 13, at Finca La Aurora. The Archeology and
Ethnology Museum exhibits part of the legacy of the Mayan Culture, from
objects of jade and obsidian to ceramic, stelae and tombs of royalty. It
has many pieces, many of them of a very high value for their quality and
Address: Finca Nacional La Aurora, zone 13.
Phone number: 472
Hours: Tuesday to Friday
from 9.00 am to 4.00 pm Saturday
and Sunday 9.00 am to 12.00n. and 1.30
to 4.00 pm Entrance fee: Q
MUSEUM OF MODERN ART
museum exhibits contemporary Guatemalan art, particularly Painting and
sculpture. In it you can see the work of one of Guatemala’s most famous painters, Carlos Merida.
Nacional la Aurora z. 13 Edif # 6. Phone
number 472-0467 Hours
Tuesday to Friday from 9.00 am to 4.00 pm. Saturday
and Sunday 9.00 to 1.00 pm and 2.00, 4.00
Entrance fee Q 10.00
MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY
museum has a rich collection of dissected animals from different regions
of the country. It also has an ecological library for children. Address:
6ª calle 7-30 zona 13
Phone number: 472 0468.
Hours Tuesday to Friday from 9
am to 4pm.
Saturday and Sunday 9 am to
1 pm and 2pm to 4.00pm
Entrance fee: Q 10.00,
Sunday the entrance is free.
MUSEUM OF HISTORY
museum shelters the riches photographic collection of the history of
Guatemala. In addition, you will be able to see the invaluable furniture
and political documents. If you want to take a look at the history of the
city since the independence in 1821, this is the right place to go.
9th street 9-70 zone 1. Phone number:
2536149. Hours Tuesday to Friday
from 9.00am to 4.00 pm. Entrance fee:
JUYU (Go if you can)
is a Mayan archeological site of the pre classic period and a monument
to the idiotic Guatemalans who destroy and keep destroying it building
houses and malls in top of the only known first class Mayan center over 1000
meters of altitude . It is located in
zone 7 of Guatemala City, on 23rd Avenue of the Roosevelt Road. Here you
will be able to admire sculpture, ceramic and works of engineering and
architecture, The city never had a fortification to surround it. During
its peak it had a population of 50,000 inhabitants but because our
cultural blindness and of the
type of material used to build its temples (mud
bricks with pomes stones) and other constructions, little remains to be seen today but worth to see before disappears
totally . Address
Colonia Kaminal Juyu zona 7. Phone number:
2232 5571. Hours Monday to Sunday
from 9.00 am to 4.00 pm
Entrance fee Q 25.00
market opened to the public in 1974 with the purpose of preserving and
promoting traditional handicrafts: Textiles, and accessories, ceramics,
natural fibers, jewelry, wood and leather, among other things. Occasionally, marimba and folkloric dance presentations are offered.
13, Finca Nacional la Aurora. Hours:
Monday to Saturday 9.30 am to 6.00 pm. Sunday
9.3 am to 2.00 pm. Entrance
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