Founded in 1776, it continues to be the seat of government and commerce. Congress, the Supreme Court and the presidential National Palace are found in Guatemala City. Industrial an commercial sectors conduct booming business here as well.
There are four major convention centers located here and three of the largest are combines with first-class hotels that offer a variety of amenities to their guests. Most offer qualified simultaneous translators for conventions and seminars, access to the World Wide Web assorted office services. The number of conventions and seminars held in the city continue to grow each year.
For either the traveler on vacation or on business, the city´s streets boast many sights.Walking tours through the downtown area give visitors a chance to see the activity in one of the city´s busiest sectors.Businesses and street vendors begin yet another working day, the faithful take to cool interior of the many churches.Those with a penchant for architecture won´t want to miss visiting several of the churches that grace.
Guatemalan city streets:
La Recolección, La Merced and La Candelaria are just a few of the regal churches that grace the city streets. Within all three churches, visitors will find immaculately robed religious figures of the Virgin Mary and Jesus of Nazareth that are carried out year after year during Holy Week.
How to get to Guatemala City:
La Aurora International Airport is one of the busiest terminals in Central America. Daily flights from Europe and the U.S. bring in an international crowd of vacation and business travelers.
During the months of November through February, the average daytime temperature varies from 60 to 70 degrees, with the thermometer rising as March and April arrive. April is the city´s hottest month. Once the rainy season comes in from May through October, the skies remain somewhat clear mainly during the morning with showers moving in during the afternoon and evening. Light rain gear is advisable during these months.
A light jacket is comfortable during the evening when temperatures drop a bit, and sweaters are ideal during the months of December and January.
Car rental agencies are plentiful in the city and can provide the traveler with anything from compact car to a hefty 4WD Toyota. Taxi service is also plentiful. Taxi´s are identifiable by a number on their door meaning they´ve been authorized by the Municipality.
Public transportation is excellent in the city. Although the buses may not be physically appealing, they can get you anywhere.
Things to see and do:
Located on Avenida Reforma these gardens have thousands of different species of flora. Most are labeled with species name in Latin and Spanish. A site not to miss.
The market was reconstructered after the 1976 earthquake. All kinds of handicrafts may be found here (carve wood, items in leather and metal, textiles, silverware, ceramic and other). The market also sells fresh fruit, vegetables, grains and meat and it is a dining place for the people who live and work in its surroundings. It is open to the public from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Sunday from 6:00 to 12:00 noon.
Relief Map of the Republic
Built in 1905 by Francisco Vela, the map covers 990 square meters and can be viewed from platforms located on each side.
The Metropolitan Cathedral
It was built between 1782 and 1815 and 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 thee are currently several church departments located.
The National Palace
One of the most prominent historical buildings in the city. Murals by Alfredo Suarez depict the conquest of Guatemala and many of the ornate state chambers can be visited with advanced permission.
Many Catholic churches are located in zone 1 and offer an interesting sample of neoclassic 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, located on 11th avenue and 5th street, zone 1, of the neoclassic style and home to 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 Del Carmen, is famous. The entire hill where the church rises is being refurbished.
The Popol Vuh Museum
Exhibits vestiges of the Maya culture such as stone sculptures from the Pacific slopes and the highlands, and ceramics from different regions of the south coast. The colonial section displays silverware, paintings, side altars and large silver sculptures. The folklore section has over 400 masks, costumes and other items. It´s the only museum in the world with Maya Sarcophagus. Open Monday through Saturday 9-12 A.M. and 2-5:30 P.M.
The Civic Center
The 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 is decorated with high relief murals by Dagoberto Vásquez describing the history of the country. City Hall has a mosaic by Carlos Mérida and the Social Security building.
Outstanding collection of native costumes. Displays ceramics, jewelry and books. Open 9- 5:30 P.M.
Important site of the Pre-Hispanic Period. Outstanding ceramic sculptures and architecture.
The National Theater found in Zone 4 is an interesting building. Not only does it boast large indoor facilities, it also has a large outdoor amphitheater where many concerts are held during the summer months.
National Museum of History and Fine Arts
Contains paintings and contemporary sculptures, portraits of the 19th century, flags, photographs and maps. Open Tuesday thru Sunday 9- 4:30 P.M.
Museum Complex of La Aurora
The museum complex of La Aurora is a great place to spend a day. The Museum of Anthropology and Archeology, the Museum of Modern Art and the Natural History Museum all stand together in this complex. They´ve recently undergone renovations and boast excellent displays.
La Aurora National Zoo
Opened in 1925, it´s one of the oldest zoos in operation in Latin America. You can see over 100 species of animals some of which include spider monkeys, macaws, coatis, curasaws, parrots and parakeets. An admission and parking fee are charged. Opened Tuesday thru Sunday 9-5P.M.
Metropolitan Museum of Science and Technology
Over 54 exhibits of science and technology. Open Monday thru Friday 9- 4:30p.
Videos of Guatemala City
Guatemala City Playlist