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This convent was begun in 1701 and was used until finally abandoned after the 1773 earthquake. Its a bit off the beaten path and has by Antigua standards a fairly steep admission price (about 5 USD). I settled for a few pics from the outside.
- Religious Travel
- Historical Travel
Museums at Casa Santo Domingo
A collection of small museums housed in the 5-star hotel Casa Santo Domingo. The hotel, which is very upmarket, is built on and incorporates the ruins of the old Dominican church complex. Of the museums, I think the best is the one housing a collection of pre-Columbian art and modern glass work. It's interesting juxtaposition although I'm not sure that it really worked for me. The Mayan collection was very interesting and well labelled in English.
The ruins of the church are also worth exploring with the crypts being worth a visit.
- Historical Travel
the Cathedral of San Jose Ruins
Behind the rebuilt Cathedral of San Jose are the ruins of what must have been at one time the most impressive cathedral in Latin America. The first Cathedral was built on this site in 1545. The ruins that can be visited today date from the 1773 earthquake.
- Historical Travel
This church ruin is accessed via the Casa Santo Domingo hotel. The site is one of the more expensive entry fees in Antigua but it includes the ruins and 3 or 4 onsite museums. It by far the best preserved and presented ruin and museum in Antigua
- Religious Travel
- Historical Travel
Ermita de la Santa Cruz
A bit off the beaten path and well away from the center of Antigua, this small structure is considered one of the oldest remaining religious ruins. The Chapel of the Holy Cross was built in the late 17th century. Only the ornate facade remains but from what is left one can tell that this small structure was once a grand piece of religious architecture. The area in front of the chapel has been restored to include a stage (with the chapel facade as a stunning backdrop) and amphitheater seating for cultural events and concerts.
Iglesia del Carmen
The facade of this ruined church is stunning with its intricately carved columns. It is also impressive due to the amount of damage that it have obviously sustained. A look through the locked iron gate reveals a large amount of rubble within. Built in 1728 it was completely destroyed in 1773 and lies in the same state as it was in immediately following that disaster over 240 years ago. A traditional Mayan craft market sets up directly in front of the church each day.
Iglesia y Convento de las Capuchinas
Established by an order of Capuchin nuns in the mid-1700s, the grounds are well-maintained while restoration efforts continue to this day. Seriously damanged during the 1773 earthquake, the convent was abandonded. The interior grounds are pretty with well-groomed gardens and interior rooms with interesting architectural features. Of main interest are the nuns rooms or cells which are situated around a circular courtyard on the second floor. The rooms are small but have their own bathroom and study area. There is a renovated room which depicts what it must have been like when in use during the 18th century.
Iglesia y Convento de Santa Clara
Originally established by an order of nuns from Mexico, the current structure was built between 1703 and 1734. Heavily damaged in 1773 it was abandoned and further damaged by another earthquake in 1874. The impressive amount that remains gives visitors an indication of the largeness of the facility when it was still in operation. The exterior facade of the church behind the outside walls includes intricate and ornate carvings and figures. The cloister area is also pretty and tranquil with a small fountain in the center.
This is one of the more impressive of the ruins in Antigua and definitely worth a visit.
Colegio de San Jeronimo
Friars of the Merced order were responsible for this structure, built in 1757. However it was closed a few years later when it was discovered that it did not have a royal license from the King of Spain to operate. As a result it was taken over by the Spanish government of King Carlos III which eventually converted its use to that of a customs house. It was later destroyed in the 1773 earthquake.
The small facade can be viewed up close and without paying the entry fee on the west side of the complex. A small fee is required to enter the grounds and to go inside of the remaining structure which includes the cloister surrounding a pretty garden with an octogonal fountain. It is a small set of ruins and you can decide if it's worth the entry fee by looking in from the entry kiosk before paying. We paid to go in and were glad we did.
Iglesia y Convento de la Recoleccion
The ruins here are among the most impressive and easily accessible in Antigua. Located in the northwest corner of town, the fallen walls and ceiling of the church lie where they fell during the earthquake of 1773. Upon examining the fallen boulder-sized brick and plaster work one can tell that the Antiquenos took the seismic threat very seriously as the walls are several feet thick. Its setting beyond an expanse of lawn upon entering the grounds after paying the fee is impressive. Visitors are free to walk amongst the ruins inside and outside of the church.
On our visit we were the only ones there which made for a nice, tranquillo visit. There isn't a whole lot to see except the ruins but they are impressive and worth the entry fee in my opinion.
Iglesia de San Jose El Viejo
A smaller church ruin set amongst pretty vegetation across the street from the Hotel Antigua, San Jose El Viejo was constructed in only 21 years (much less time compared to some of the other large churches in Antigua) ending in 1761. It was very badly damaged in the 1773 earthquake and was left unused until it was restored in 1942. It is closed to visitors but is apparently used for special occasions as we were lucky enough to happen by when the gates were unlocked and a group were setting up tables and chairs for some kind of event. Otherwise I would not have been able to take photos of the interior or get the history from a plaque inside the church.
Convento de la Compania de Jesus
The facade of this ruined church is unique because of the fresco work that is still visible with fairly vibrant and sometimes faint coloring. The original organization here included a convent, school, and the church and was founded in 1582. In 1767 the Jesuitas were forced to leave the country and the buildings were vacant until a textile factory opened up shop here in the 19th century.
As with other structures of the time, La Compania de Jesus suffered from the series of major earthquakes in the 17th and 18th centuries. Reconstructions continued until the great earthquake of 1773. Following the textile factory, public offices were established here and at one point the Mercado de Artesanias was also located here. The former convent portion of the building is currently (2007) used as is the seat of the Center of Formation of the Spanish Cooperation. Visitors can go in and see the restored areas of the convent which from photos I've seen since my trip it would be well worth seeing.
Iglesia de San Agustin
Antigua is a great town to walk around it as is compact and built on a grid pattern. As one walks around the visitor will pass many church ruins, the result of a major earthquake in 1773 which led to the relocation of the colonial capital from Antigua to Guatemala City. Many of these churches were never restored or reopened, with gigantic pieces of the fallen structure still lying where they fell over 200 years ago.
San Agustin is one such church and like many that haven't been restored it is fenced off and closed to the public. However the facade like many of the 18th century churches is interesting even if many of the sculpted figures have long since been removed.
Catedral de Santiago ruins
Located behind the Catedral de Santiago. The 17th century cathedral was destroyed by the earthquake in 1773. The ruins have an almost ancient Rome quality to them - the architectural spaces are more defined by the partial arches and walls.
This is a huge church and monastery complex in ruins, inaugurated in 1717 and felled in 1773. It is spectacular. The cost of the entrance is a bit steep at 40 Quetzales. Residents can get in for much less, and besides me - the sole visitor - there were many young couples engaged in gallant discourse among the many nooks and alcoves.
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