"The First Capital of Colonial Guatemala" Ciudad Vieja by Hopkid

Ciudad Vieja Travel Guide: 1 reviews and 89 photos

The Spanish based their colonial capital here in the foothills of Volcan Agua in 1527. Bad idea. How bad an idea was discovered in 1541 when a large quantity of water from Agua's crater (hence the source of the volcano's name) came rushing down its slopes and devastated the town. It was then decided to move the capital a few miles into the valley and the city of Antigua was founded. Ciudad Vieja was eventually rehabited and the remains of the old church restored. It touts the title as having been the first cathedral in the Americas, founded in 1534 but the current structure was built years afterwards.

Our short visit to Ciudad Vieja was part of a tour of village surrounding Antigua which included stops at San Antonio Aguas Calientes, San Pedro las Huertes, and Santa Isabel, each of which have their own beautiful churches. I would highly recommend taking such a tour as it can show you more about what life is like for local Guatemalans than in Antigua which can get a bit touristy. And if for some reason you can't get enough of the old churches in Antigua, there's one in every small village in the area!

Daily life in the main plaza in front of the Iglesia de la Concepcion

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Small village atmosphere
  • In a nutshell:Nice stop as part of a village tour outside of Antigua
  • Last visit to Ciudad Vieja: Jun 2007
  • Intro Updated Dec 1, 2007
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