Just before celebrating the first day of 2018, I found myself walking in the streets of Antigua, Guatemala’s former capital and open-air museum. The easiest way, according to me, to visit this town is to walk. Each street has its on way and is made of vintage stones unpractical to drive on.
In 1773, the Santa Marta earthquake struck the country with an epicentral magnitude of 7.5M. Unfortunately this catastrophe destroyed most of Antigua (formerly called Santiago de los Caballeros de Guatemala) which was at that time the colonial capital of Central America and caused it to loose this title for Guatemala City.
I started by visiting the Cathedral with a donation entrance of 1$. This building is quite surprising as the front of it is completely intact, while the inside is made of ruins due to the earthquake.
After this, we climbed to the viewpoint of Cerro de la Cruz to enjoy the panoramic view on Antigua and its volcano Agua. The sky was clear and it was a really pleasant promenade.
While going down towards the city center, we realized a lot of museums were closed due to the upcoming celebration. We still managed to visit the Iglesia y Convento de las Capuchinas, which is one of the finest examples of an 18th-century convent in Guatemala. It was consecrated in 1736 but like the rest of the city suffered damage during the 1751 and 1773 earthquakes respectively, and was abandoned by order of the Captain General at the time.
After that we walked towards the San Francisco church, one of the most frequented sanctuaries by the local population because of the shrine of Peter of Saint Joseph Betancur.
Antigua is a wonderful town. Every house is worth taking a picture of, and every corner gives you the will to walk down that street. It’s lovely, charming, and full of History able to be explored via great museums and remains.