Several of Guatemala City’s downtown churches have been restored in recent years and might be worth a stop to admire their noteworthy architecture.
Iglesia de San Francisco
Construction on Iglesia de San Francisco (6a Avenida and 13 Calle Zona 1, 7 a.m.–noon and 2–7 p.m.) began in 1800 and wasn’t completed until 1851. Outside, it looks charmingly worn down by the elements and is a light gray. Inside are 18 altars of impressive quality.
Iglesia Santo Domingo
Another beautiful church is that of Iglesia Santo Domingo (12 Avenida and 10a Calle), constructed between 1792 and 1808. In addition to its attractive architecture, it is known for its paintings, including one depicting the apparition of the Virgin Mary to Santo Domingo de Guzmán, after whom the capital of the Dominican Republic is named. (It is believed he received the rosary from her.)
El Cerrito del Carmen
El Cerrito del Carmen (12 Avenida and 2a Calle Zona 1, 7 a.m.–noon and 2–6 p.m.) denominates both the name of this hermitage and the hill on which it rests, with wonderful views of the downtown area. It dates to 1620 and is known for its image of a virgin of the same name embossed in silver, a gift from Carmelite nuns in the 17th century.
Iglesia San Miguel de Capuchinas
Oil paintings by Tomás de Merlo adorn the inside of Iglesia San Miguel de Capuchinas (10 Avenida 10-51 Zona 1, 6 a.m.–noon and 2–7 p.m.), with its transitional baroque-neoclassical architecture.
© Al Argueta from Moon Guatemala, 3rd Edition. Photos © Al Argueta www.alargueta.com