La Antigua Guatemala, Guatemala
La Antigua Guatemala is located one hour from the city of Guatemala. Here the temperature is warm and the streets are cobbled. If you look up you’ll see red roofs everywhere, as well as the nearby and immense Agua Volcano.
During the 16th century Antigua became the main urban center in the country, but the destruction brought by the earthquake of 1773 changed its destiny. The capital was then relocated-it was not the first time an earthquake made this happen-from the Panchoy Valley to the Ermita Valley. The metropolis left in ruins was then known as La Antigua Guatemala. Not all of its inhabitants left. Something in this landscape surrounded by volcanoes made them stay. Little by little, the colonial buildings were reconstructed, the old urban layout was preserved, life returned. So much so that in 1979 UNESCO recognized the rebuilt city and its monuments as a World Heritage. Today it’s a perfect place to get married: with the Agua, Fuego, Acatenango and the Pacaya volcanoes cut out as whimsical triangles over the sky.
The past of this colonial city is seen in its moldy baroque churches, while the present in the colorful way of being of the Guatemalans.
With the arrival of the Spaniards to Guatemala, different religious orders also appeared. Several convents and cloisters were founded during the Colony. As earthquakes used to tear down buildings, the holy architecture changed: lower proportions, minute bell towers, wide walls and buttresses were needed. Still the tremors couldn’t be avoided, and so now the city boasts a wide collection of vestiges from the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. Churches without domes, columns that no longer support anything and crumbling walls, are at the present romantic scenarios for those wishing to marry in La Antigua Guatemala. You can book any of the hidden spaces inside Santo Domingo, La Merced, La Recolección, Santa Teresa, Santa Clara, San José El Viejo, the Hermitage of Santa Cruz, San Jerónimo or Capuchinas.
The National Council for the Protection of La Antigua Guatemala is responsible for the preservation of all the movable and immovable properties the city owns. To get married in any of the ruins-you can both organize the ceremony in one and the banquet in another-it is necessary to have permission from the council. Ask for help with the procedures to your wedding planner.
The hotel selection in La Antigua Guatemala is wide and varied. There are boutique hotels with interior patios, flowers, fountains and terraces ideal for small weddings. Such as the Mil Flores Hotel, Pensativo House Hotel, San Rafael, Mesón Panza Verde, Sor Juana and El Convento. All of them are to be found downtown, near the beautiful ruined religious buildings and the Central Park. It is also easy to schedule a photo session in the iconic Arco de Santa Catalina on Fifth Avenue, or in the 19th century public laundry wash basins of the Tanque de la Unión. There are also hotels with capacity for larger weddings. Porta Hotel Antigua, Camino Real, Hotel Soleil and Casa Santo Domingo are good options when it comes to bustling parties.
The people of Guatemala are recognized for the wonders their hands create. There are two crowded places to buy textiles, paintings, pieces of clay and wood. One is the El Carmen Market: it stands out for the display of fabrics that merchants place every day outside a beautiful, broken-down church. The other is the Traditional Textile Center called Nim Po’t, where you’ll find the typical “barriletes”, which are colored kites created to honor the deaths during a November festival.
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