Top 10 Most Visited Monuments in Antigua Guatemala

Antigua, Guatemala contains many beautiful colonial buildings and monuments. The monuments in Antigua Guatemala are worth visiting. Many of the buildings being incredibly well-preserved walking along its cobbled streets is like stepping back into the days of the Spanish empire. Taking the time to stroll these streets and admire the architecture is one of the best ways to get a feel for this city, Antigua isn’t short of exciting attractions. Here are seven of the most beautiful buildings and historical monuments in Antigua Guatemala. Antigua is one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations located in Guatemala’s central highlands and for good reason. Famous for its impressive baroque Spanish monuments in Antigua Guatemala, this UNESCO World Heritage site has a wealth of varied sights that are a must-visit.

List of Monuments in Antigua Guatemala

1. Church of Saint Francis

Monuments in Antigua Guatemala, landmarks of Antigua Guatemala

Although after much reconstruction work over the centuries, the Iglesia de San Francisco may well have its feet firmly in the 16th century, little of its original structure remains today. It is considered one of the monuments of Antigua Guatemala. Dedicated to the Franciscan monk Hermano Pedro, who is famous for founding a local hospital and his subsequent healing work, the church features a number of attractions.  including a small museum (the Museo del Hermano Pedro), and an adjacent monastery complete with some fascinating relics and old photographs relating to Pedro himself.

2. Catedral de Santiago

Monuments in Antigua Guatemala, landmarks of Antigua Guatemala

The Catedral de Santiago, Antigua’s main church lies to the east of Parque Central and is one of the oldest structures and important monuments in Antigua Guatemala. Although it has been rebuilt and revamped on many occasions owing to devastating earthquakes, the cathedral originally hails from the mid-1500s. The white-washed facade is striking and wonderfully lit at night. While just behind the building are the remains of a major chunk of the cathedral inside is a small collection of Baroque artworks, which is in ruins after the roof collapsed.

3. City Hall

Monuments in Antigua Guatemala, landmarks of Antigua Guatemala

The Palacio del Ayuntamiento stands on the northerly side of the Parque Central and dates back to the 18th century. This monument to see in Antigua Guatemala serves as the City Hall and its appearance is very distinctive, with two rows of arches and columns. The hall also contains a couple of popular attractions As well as being home to the town offices, namely the Museo de Santiago and the Museo del Libro Antiguo museums. Such as the Cafe Barista, the Cafe La Escudilla, and La Cenicienta, a number of eateries reside close by.

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4. Landivar Monument

Monuments in Antigua Guatemala, landmarks of Antigua Guatemala

Just to the south of the Antigua Market, the city’s Landivar Monument is to be found and is an especially peaceful place to head to. This best monument in Antigua Guatemala is surrounded by park-like greenery paying tribute to the much-loved Latin poet and local citizen Rafael Landivar (1731 to 1793). This small building is instantly recognizable by its five large stone arches, which add a definite colonial feel. Landivar was a Jesuit priest following Guatemala’s expulsion of Jesuits who spent much of his time in Italy. With his ruined house being close by, providing further interest, when he was in Antigua he lived on the Calle 5a Poniente.

5. Iglesia Y Convento de Santo Domingo

Monuments in Antigua Guatemala, landmarks of Antigua Guatemala

Although today a hotel, the Iglesia y Convento de Santo Domingo is one of the long-standing landmarks and top monuments in Antigua Guatemala, being founded in the mid-16th century by Dominican friars and once the city’s richest monastery. Over the centuries has experienced earthquakes and pillaging this bulky structure is located in the city center and, although today the church is looking good thanks in no small part to the restoration work. This work was carried out by the Casa Santo Domingo Hotel.

6. Merced Church 

Monuments in Antigua Guatemala, landmarks of Antigua Guatemala

A Baroque-style church with a fancy facade located to the north of the Plaza Mayor (Parque Central) is the Iglesia La Merced. Due to its short thick walls designed to withstand earthquakes this mid-18th century ancient monument in Antigua Guatemala has been well preserved.  With many fine paintings and comes in a striking yellow color. During the hectic Holy Week celebrations, the Merced Church is best enjoyed.

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7. Cerro de la Cruz

Monuments in Antigua Guatemala, landmarks of Antigua Guatemala

Hill of Cerro de la Cruz is lying just north of the Plaza Mayor which easily offers the best views of the cityscape in the direction of Volcan Agua. It is one of the monuments to see in Antigua Guatemala. Cerro de la Cruz has a huge stone cross atop it and can be climbed in about 25 minutes. You can be escorted by the Policia Municipal de Turismo and also go by taxi both of which are recommended rather than walking on your own, owing to crime in the area. You will find that the views are definitely worth capturing on camera when you reach the top.

8. The Old University of San Carlos 

Monuments in Antigua Guatemala, landmarks of Antigua Guatemala

Although it has since relocated to Guatemala City, the University of San Carlos began its life in Antigua in 1676. The main building features a grand facade, an attractive cloister, and a decorated freeze still a prominent landmark in the city. The principal function of this iconic monument in Antigua Guatemala these days is to house the Museum of Colonial Art, a long-established and important gallery-based here for almost 100 years and housing many art treasures.

9. General Cemetery

Monuments in Antigua Guatemala, landmarks of Antigua Guatemala

Known locally in Antigua as the Cementerio General, the vast General Cemetery has a fascinating collection of tombs and mausoleums, so much so both of the structures and people that there have been many robberies here in the past. For this reason, it is best to go with one of the free escorts – via the Policia Municipal de Turismo, particularly since this cemetery is a little outside of the city. Tours of this popular monument in Antigua Guatemala can be arranged through the Asistur tourism assistance outlet on the Calle 6a Poniente.

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10. Saint Catalina Arch

Monuments in Antigua Guatemala, landmarks of Antigua Guatemala

Perhaps one of the most visited monuments in Antigua Guatemala, the Saint Catalina Arch is a striking structure regularly appearing on promotional material of the city. For the purpose of getting the nuns from one street to the next without being been built-in 1694 as part of the massive Convent of St. Catherine, the arch is beautifully maintained along a cobbled street. This pale yellow arch is well lit at night and has a short clock tower on the top. Tourists here in this monument can only walk underneath the arch.

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