Two years ago, the girls and I had an opportunity to visit Antigua Guatemala. Wandering about this little city was an absolute delight. It’s well-maintained and pretty, with quirky and colourful colonial architecture along cobbled streets.
However, my favourite feature was the stunning location among mountains and volcanoes.
Antigua Guatemala photos
As we approached Antigua, one of the surrounding volcanoes – Volcan de Fuego – was having a little outburst. Just big enough to be exciting.
Antigua was founded in 1543 and was capital of the Captaincy General of Guatemala (also known as the Kingdom of Guatemala). Considering that encompassed almost all of Spanish Central America, that’s quite impressive.
As often seems to be the case in the Spanish-speaking world, the city’s proper name is in honour of a saint – and very long: La muy Noble y muy Leal Ciudad de Santiago de los Caballeros de Guatemala, the very noble and very loyal city Santiago of the Knights of Guatemala.
It’s perhaps good, even necessary, to have the protection of a saint. You see, volcanoes isn’t nature’s only threat up here in the highlands of central Guatemala. Antigua suffered a series of devastating earthquakes in 1717 and again in 1773.
Luckily, many buildings and monuments either survived (in some cases as partial ruins) or have been rehabilitated. We enjoyed exploring the ruins of monasteries and churches, and the beautiful gardens surrounding many of them.
Our visit was much too brief, but we saw enough of this colonial city to know we’d like to come back for a closer look later.
Antigua Guatemala is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Here are more UNESCO World Heritage sites around the world.
Great shots! I love visiting places like these when there are no people, or very few. It makes the pictures look that much better. You really get a feel for the architecture.
Thanks. Got lucky. 🙂
Beautiful images Sophie!
Great photos, Sophie 🙂
Thank you, Muza-chan.
Beautiful pictures! Love the volcano shot!
What a lovely town, I loved the photos and so miss South America.
It’s such a fascinating continent, isn’t it…
Gorgeous photos! That volcano is so lively =)
It really was lively and interesting.
I love your focus on World Heritage Sites. Since I can’t do it myself, I appreciate your doing that tour for me. And what a gorgeous place Antiqua is!
Thanks, Vera Marie. I am quite intrigued with the World Heritage sites myself 🙂
What a great set of photos Sophie.My husband has visited and said that we must visit. I hear it has excellent schools for learning Spanish as well as that wonderful scenery.
Yes, I’ve heard the same thing about the language courses there.
Mesmerizing photos. I’m particularly fascinated by the hot empty courtyard with the purple profusion of bougainvillae.
Such intense colours of the flowers.
Nice photos,thank you for sharing 🙂
Thanks for stopping by.
Wow that volcano shot is spectacular! Must have been quite exciting when it had a little fit. Anitgua looks really lovely.
It was exciting, especially for us coming from a part of the world where nature rarely misbehaves 🙂
Your photos are beautiful! It must have been amazing to have experienced even a minor volcanic eruption in person! Such a contrast to the peaceful images you took documenting Antigua’s gorgeous monasteries! You did an amazing job of capturing the light and presenting the photographs in such a way as to hint at the romance and history of the moment.
Thanks. Antigua is an easy subject in that way.
I haven’t visited Guatemala but your photos have helped put it on my list.
Happy to help.
Loved this place, great photos! I nearly died on a volcano near there!
Love the way your site looks by the way!
Thank you – and that volcano episode sounds dramatic.
My family had a great time in Santiago de los Caballeros. We had a wonderful time there and enjoyed the culture of the region. The nightlife was fantastic, and the city’s elegance is indescribable.