Antigua Guatemala or Ciudad de Santiago de los Caballeros de Goathemalan (City of Saint James of the Knights of Guatemala) in Guatemala, because of its beautiful architecture dating from Spanish colonial period, was declared a world heritage site by UNESCO in 1979!
The city currently has about 30,000 inhabitants and is located in the beautiful valley Panchoy, surrounded by three majestic volcanoes. Its stone streets, the facades of its houses and churches, its climate make it unique in the world. Antigua is probably the most visited site in Guatemala. Its construction began in 1541 following the design of an Italian architect and was abandoned in 1776, due to the destruction caused by earthquakes of Santa Marta in 1773.
Antigua, together with Mexico and Lima was considered as one of the three largest capital of the new world, the visitor is given then chance to see the imposing buildings in the city. During the Easter Week (Holy Week), Antigua is even more interesting as it becomes the seat of religious fervor, its streets are covered by carpets of sawdust and flower petals that mark the passage of the imposing procession, a tradition that has existed for over 500 years.
In addition, Antigua enjoys a very active cultural life: art galleries, museums, fine restaurants and some hotels are located in beautiful old colonial buildings like the Casa Santo Domingo; in addition its more than 50 Spanish schools are internationally renowned. Old Guatemala can be the starting point to visit other areas of the country: Tikal, Chichicastenango, the Pacaya Volcano, and many other sites of interest.
This city is a source of admiration and respect, not only by the majesty of their buildings and walls in general, but also by the people who made it possible to keep the city on foot. Today, the Central Park (Parque Central) is the heart of Antigua. The Arco de Santa Catalina, near the Central Park, is among the numerous notable architectural landmarks of La Antigua.