Antigua Ruins, Antigua Guatemala
Don't expect the opulence of Cuzco's cathedral. The Catedral is rather bland inside. The facade is beautiful and it dominates the central square. Today's cathedral is a fraction of the original complex, which was destroyed during numerous earthquakes. You can visit the wrecked remains of the rest of the structure. Worth snooping for, behind the altar, are steps leading down to a little black crypt.
From an architectural standpoint, the ruins of the Santa Clara church and convent might not be particularly impressive, but the gardens stand out as a great place to see and photograph a good selection of the many beautiful flowers that call Antigua Guatemala home.
The Santa Clara church, which can be perfectly observed from the street, without having to pay the entrance fee to the convent, isn't on the whole terribly interesting, but it does have its artistic flourishes here and there.
The San Jerónimo school had a short and somewhat tumultuous existence. Built between 1739 and 1757, the school was closed down by Spanish King Carlos III because it lacked his royal approval. From 1765 until 1773 (when it was destroyed by earthquakes), the former school served as the royal customs house. Although the guidebook I have describes these ruins as "spectacular," I found them to be the least interesting of the four monuments that are maintained by the "Consejo Nacional para la Protección de la Antigua Guatemala." The gardens that surround the ruins of the Colegio de San Jerónimo might be more impressive than the ruins themselves
The construction of Las Capuchinas, more formally known as the "Iglesia y Convento de Nuestra Señora del Pilar de Zaragoza," was completed on January 25, 1736. The nuns who called this convent home were prohibited from having any visual contact with the outside world; they received their food by means of a turntable and they could only speak to visitors through a grill. The convent's most distinguishing feature is a circular structure containing the eighteen cells that served as the living quarters for the nuns who resided there. The convent's courtyard, its arched corridors, its exterior gardens, and its small collection of colonial-era religious statues and relics are also worth taking a look at.
The second picture attached to this tip, of the entrances to the nuns' tiny cells, shows that apparently there wasn't much difference between being sent off to a colonial convent and being sent off to a medieval prison.
The "Iglesia y Convento de la Recolección" (also known as the "Colegio de Cristo Crucificado de Misiones Apostólicas de Propaganda Fide") is one of the four sets of colonial ruins in Antigua Guatemala that are maintained by the "Consejo Nacional para la Protección de la Antigua Guatemala" (National Council for the Protection of Antigua Guatemala). Entrance fees to each one of these historic monuments - the other three are the Las Capuchinas Church and Convent, the San Jerónimo School, and the Santa Clara Church and Convent - cost Q30 ($3.95) for visitors from outside Central America. If your time and/or budget won't allow you to visit all four of these showpiece ruins, and if what you’re looking for are large-scale ruins (i.e. huge chunks of walls and ceilings lying about all over the place, as if the earthquake that shook everything to the ground happened just last week, rather than in 1773), then look no further than "La Recolección."
The modern "Catedral de Santiago," facing Antigua's central park, isn't particularly attractive or noteworthy, compared to a few of the town's other churches; more interesting and picturesque are the ruins of the huge 17th-century cathedral that was destroyed by an earthquake in 1773. For a donation of Q3 ($0.39), you can check out the arches that once supported a huge dome, five naves, and a total of eighteen chapels, as well as the few statues and adornments that have survived through the centuries.
Antigua was destroyed twice by fire and eventually the capital was moved to Guate City. Apparently the rule is that ruins must be left preserved in the city, thus there are beautiful signts like in this photoe. One club, the Casbah, has an upstaris patio that overlooks the insides to an old church.
As is common known, Antigua hasn't been a very safe city in the previous centuries.
They have the vicinity of the volcanoes which are unpredictable and, secondly, they suffered from various earthquakes.
Walking through the street sand looking at the buildings, you can see ruptures everywhere.
This deserted church is one fo the best examples
The old cathedral is adjacent to the current one. It has been incredibly damage by earthquakes, but visitors can walk through its ruins and those of a neighboring rectory-type building.
This is a fun exploration for anyone and is a great chance to climb through an early example of the meshing of Spanish and American styles of architecture. It's not too big or small and has enough surviving structure to give one an intriguing glimpse into the past.
If you want to spend an hour or two enjoying some of the ruins of Antigua (it blends it well with a self-guided walking tour of Antigua's streets, shops, buildings, ruins, cathedrals etc.), this is a great spot. Entrance costs Q18 and you have access to the colonial and mayan artifact museums. A nice activitiy especially when it is a nice day. The grounds of the hotel are also nice for strolls.
Once one of the most extensive monasteries in Antigua, San Francisco Monastery was abandoned after damage from earthquakes.
This former convent is one of the most extensive ruins in Antigua. The convent was completed in 1736. The cloister was in a unique round building with individual living spaces all around the center.
Another of Antigua's church ruins started in 1638 and abandoned after the 1773 earthquake. This church is also the site of a local handicraft market.
This ruin is of a church built in 1679. It was damaged numerous times and abandoned after the 1773 earthquake.
These are the ruins of a school built in 1739. it was damaged in the 1773 earthquake but still saw limited use up until a 1976 earthquake.