Guatemala City Tourist Attractions
Guatemala City is the largest urban center in Central America with 2.5 million inhabitants. The city is laid out in a checkerboard grid; Avenidas run north-south; Calles run east-west, and divided into 15 zones with Avenida La Reforma splitting it down the middle.
Guatemala City's historic center exhibits Spanish-colonial architecture. Museums, an assortment of church styles and heavily populated street markets radiate from the Plaza Mayor.Modern Guatemala City is reminiscent of upscale North American districts. Many buildings designed in the second half of the 20th C incorporate murals and mosaics into their architecture. Most of Guatemala's theaters, museums and galleries are located in Guatemala City and dozens good restaurants, bars, and clubs are found in Zona Viva in the modern section of town.Guatemala's location and facilities make it a starting point for visits to the rest of Guatemala. Guate (pronounced Guat-TAY) was founded in 1775, not far from where the Mayan city of Kaminaljuyú flourished a thousand years before. After the 1773 earthquake, which destroyed the former capital city of Antigua Guatemala, the capital was moved to its present location.
Ixchel Museum of Mayan Costumes
Ixchel Museum of Mayan Costumes has a vast collection of textiles dating to the end of the 19th C originating from 120 Guatemalan communities.A collection of paintings illustrating the regional costumes complements the exhibit. The museum is named for the Mayan goddess of fertility and weaving.
Popol Vuh Museum
A valuable collection of Mayan art is displayed at Museo Popol Vuh, the only museum in the world with a Mayan Sarcophagus. Included is colonial art and a folklore section with over 400 masks and costumes.
Shady Parque Minerva features a 1:1000 scale relief map of Guatemala; a unique engineering masterpiece created in 1904 by Francisco Vela.The 2,000sq m/21,500sq ft map shows Guatemala's topography in detail complete with rivers, lakes and oceans and is viewed from platforms located on each side.Nearby is a small forest of hormigo trees, the wood of which is used to make marimbas (Central American xylophones). These trees were planted to commemorate of the marimba tradition in Guatemala.
The ruins of Kaminaljuyú are an important Mayan archeological site of Late Pre-classic/Early Classic period containing outstanding ceramic sculptures and architecture. During its peak the center had a population of 50,000 inhabitants. Kaminaljuyú was never fortified and unfortunately the ruins have been largely covered by urban expansion.
Avenida la Reforma
Avenida la Reforma is a pleasant avenue with many gardens, monuments, restaurants and nightclubs. Originally designed in the 19th C to resemble the Champs Elysees in Paris, Avenida La Reforma begins at Plaza Obelisco, where a torch, constantly lit, symbolizes the freedom of Guatemala and separates Zones 9 and 10.
Guatemala City's Civic Center is home to the City Hall, the Bank of Guatemala, the Supreme Court of Justice and the Miguel Angel Asturias Cultural Center.The Civic center consists of buildings designed 1950s and 60s some of which are adorned with murals and mosaics.
Miguel Angel Asturias Cultural Center
Guatemala City's Miguel Angel Asturias Cultural Center is an impressive modern building shaped like a crouching jaguar. Within its angled shape the complex has a Grand Theater with 2068 seats, a Chamber Theater, an open-air theater, plazas, rehearsal rooms, workshops and conference rooms as well as an old arms museum.
Cerrito del Carmen
Iglesia de San Francisco
San Francisco is an Italianate Neo-classic church dating from the mid -16th C where the image of the Virgin of Conception is venerated and commemorated on December 8.
Zona Viva is Guatemala City's most popular entertainment center with exclusive nightclubs, restaurants and boutiques. It is known as the Zona Viva because it's the place to eat, drink and be merry.