Cathedral La Antigua Guatemala
There are many decrepit buildings in Antigua long ago left in a ruin by earthquakes or just aged beyond repair. It’s one on the incredible charms here, even the streets are from times gone by they fill from sidewalk to sidewalk unevenly popping up and out. This is a town you must pay attention to every step you take or you could easily trip, trust me I know on several occasions I nearly fell on my head. The Antigua Guatemala Cathedral is a special ruin here the wreckage of the earthquakes from 1541 through 1669 and then the disasters one in 1773 left it a beautiful mess.
It’s just 15 Q to enter as a tourist and walk through or more if you would prefer to have a guided tour. Entering into this centuries-old ruins I could feel the history, the once rubble-work construction overlaid with tile was originally started in 1545. The cathedral was overthrown in 1669 which was when the reconstruction of the cathedral took place and it was then inaugurated in 1680. In the 19th century, a portion of the church was restored constructed using the antique cathedral and then opened to the public as Saint Joseph Parochial Church.
You can see the underground crypt that it still intact below the ruins off the right side of the entrance. Some of the portions of worship are still there and in the back portion of the building are pieces of the ruins that had been moved there when it opened to the public. The gold altars that were still left there after the destruction were removed to use in the Cathedral of Guatemala City in 1816. I found it mind-boggling to think of what it must have been like back in its day, it really was a magnificent place. Wandering through an important piece of history that it kept so well was truly amazing.
Saint Joseph Parochial Church
Off to the left of the ruin is Saint Joseph Parochial Church it is a somewhat dark cathedral leaving me feeling a little gloomy. The mixture of neuvo and antique was interesting, this is a small church, compact but filled with a sense of history.
Iglesia de La Merced
Iglesia de La Merced, Antigua Guatemala is another amazing church, in 1749 Juan de Dios Estrada was hired to build this beautiful church. He built to be low in height in hopes of withstanding earthquakes, it was finally opened in 1767.
The outside is baroque style with to two bell towers, topping the building is the effigy of San Pedro Nolasco on each side of him are two Mercedaries and the crests of the order. The Mercedaries were the first male monastery at the old Santiago de Guatemala. The building is absolutely stunning painted in a warm yellow with white trim making the centuries-old structure to look bright and cheery. You can wander around for free in here.
Surrounding the church is a small plaza where some of the locals sell their merchandise. Warning always haggle with these vendors they will try to sell their wares at the highest price first. The plaza is inviting with small benches to sit and ponder. It’s not as hectic as the main plaza so I found it a nice place to just relax for a few minutes and enjoy the community.
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