Antigua is a beautiful place Nov 18, 2012
Antigua was a very beautiful city. Many years ago (July 25, 1524) it was Christened as the capital of Guatemala. Today it is a tourist site with man beautiful buildings such as the Cathedral of San Jose, the El Carmen Church, El Palacio de los Capitanes Generales, and the picturesque La Merced Church.
My goal when I visited the city was to shoot each building in such a way as to expose its natural splendor. In addition, I also wanted to show the beauty of the ancient ruins (oh gosh, I hope that does not sound like to redundant sentences).
I had a great time, but of course, I wore out my feet walking around taking pictures. It was hot and humid, so of course I perspired quite a bit. As always: bring some confortable shoes if you plan on focusing on the photography.
I highly recommending going to Antigua. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
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antigua history Apr 13, 2008
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 Baroque architecture as well as a number of spectacular ruined 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 Cakchiquel-Maya city, now called Iximche, on July 25, 1524 -the day of Saint James- and called La Muy Noble y Muy Leal Ciudad de los Caballeros de Santiago de Goathemalan (The Very Noble and Very Loyal City of the Knights of Saint James 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 by a flood, the 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").
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Sep 14, 2007
High up in the Guatemalan mountains you’ll find the charming and colourful town of La Antigua Guatemala. Antigua was founded in 1543 by the conquistadors and is one of the most popular destinations in Central America.
It’s fairly easy to get to Antigua; it’s only 30 miles from Guatemala City. You can catch one of the so-called Chicken buses from Terminal de Buses, or go for a shuttle van directly from the airport. The Chicken bus is the cheapest way to get there, the less convenient, but if you’re after an experience you’ll never forget – this is the way to get there.
Antigua is well known for its crafts. Since tourists converge on the city during the weekends, the best time to shop is on a weekday, when prices trend lower. Two markets are well worth mentioning: The Antigua market in the western end of town. They have a good range of textiles and crafts made by the Maya.
At the Artesian market you can get beautiful paintings and clothes. Be prepared to haggle and at leas halve the price they give you.
Just outside Antigua you’ll find the Cultural Centre La Azoeta. The centre is build on an old coffee plantation and consists of three museums; The Mayan music museum, the local traditional clothing museum and the coffee museum, a visitor centre and a restaurant. The entrance to the centre is cheap, and also includes guided tours to all the museums. Getting to the Cultural Centre is easy, there are busses from Parque Central and it only takes a few minutes.
The ruins of Catedral de Santiago, built in 1543, are located on the east side of the Parque Central. Once upon a time this was the largest cathedral in the Spanish Colonies. In 1773 an earthquake destroyed the building, and only a small part of the once so impressive cathedral was rebuild. The Catedral is daily open to the public.
Parque Central is the heart of the city. With all its benches it’s an excellent spot to eat ice cream, observe the locals and other tourists. In the park you will also find the Fuente de las Siernas – a stunning fountain. The Cathedral, City hall, the Capitania and an arcade with restaurants, shops and travel agencies surround the park.
Arco de Santa Catarina from 1694 is a famous landmark in Antigua. The arch is one of the few structures that withstood the 1773 earthquake. It is very beautiful and an impressive site. One of the most see attractions in Antigua.
Cultural walking tours of Antigua: A good way to see the town. The tours are offered six days a week and cheap. The tours are available in English and Spanish and starts at the fountain in the Parque Central at 09.30 am at Fridays and Saturdays, Mondays and Thursdays at 2.00 pm.
Something you must make sure you see, before you leave, are Guatemala’s volcanoes. Three of them are clearly visible from Antigua: Agua, Fuego and Acatenango. Pacaya is a bit further away. Pacaya is the easiest and most popular to climb, it takes a few hours to the top. The guides might say two hours, but keep in mind they have done this trip plenty of times. On the top you’ll feel the heat of the ground and in some holes you might even see the red lava glowing. Plenty of travel agencies offer this trip so it’s advisable to shop around to find the best deal. I used La Ruta Maya and can recommend them.
Antigua is a very popular place for learning Spanish. There are lot of schools to choose between, some are better than others among the better ones are: Ixchel and San Jose El Viejo. Most of the students stay with a Guatemalan family during their stay. For approximately GP70 a week you’ll get your own room with a shared bathroom and three daily meals.
In the city there are a wide range of restaurants and cafes to suit every taste. It’s not always the case that the menu is in English or that the waiter speaks English, but sign language will always do the trick.
My top three are Frida with its good atmosphere; good service and good prices. You can get a great meal for GP10.00
Café Sky: a nice place to have a drink and an outdoor meal; the place has a great view over Antigua and the volcanoes.
Casa Santo Domingo: fabulous food. The restaurant is entirely lit by candles and has a series of rooms open to a small garden. It’s a bit expensive, but truly worth it.
There are a large number of hotels ranging from budget to five stars. The town is fairly compact, and it is easy to get from A to B, which means that even the budget accommodation is close to the city centre.
If you fancy a luxurious place - The Cloister might be what you are looking for.
An old cloister transformed into a seven-bedrooms hotel, all en suite. A bit pricy but it has good atmosphere and its very clean and well maintained.
Looking for a cheaper place?
Hostal San Nicolas has four comfortable rooms, all en suite, and a beautiful garden outside.
If you are on a tight budget this place might be of interest:
Hostal El Montanes, a clean and friendly hostel close to Parque Central. Offers both private and shared bathrooms.
All in all I highly recommend a visit to Antigua in Central America as you will experience many of the cultural and natural delights that Central America has to offer.
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