Antigua Ruins, Antigua Guatemala
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.
Directions: La Recoleccion is out of the way. I reached it from the South, walking on Avenida de La Recolleccion through an area behind the bus terminal which didn't feel 100% safe. You should instead reach La Recoleccion from the East, using Calle de La Recoleccion.
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.
Address: Entrance to the ruins is on 5a Calle Oriente
Directions: On the Parque Central
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.
Directions: Santa Clara is located on 2da Ave. Sur, between 6a and 7a Calle Pte. - two blocks east and two blocks south of the Parque Central.
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
Directions: If you want to take a look yourself, these ruins are located along 1era Calle Pte. / Calle de la Recolección, about half-way between the Iglesia La Merced and the ruins of La Recolección.
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.
Directions: To get there from the central park, walk east two blocks, then turn left on 1era Ave. and walk another two blocks.
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."
Directions: These massive ruins are located roughly 1 km. northwest of the Central Park; to get there, walk north from the park until you hit 1era Calle, then turn left and keep walking straight until you get there.
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.
Address: Behind the cathedral
Directions: Off the plaza mayor.
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.
Address: 1 Avenida Sur
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.
Address: 2 Av Norte & 2 calle Oriente
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.
Address: 3 avenida Norte