History

Antigua is a beautiful colonial city that was founded in the early 16th century by the Spaniards. Built 1,500 meters above sea-level in the highlands of Guatemala, it was largely destroyed by an earthquake in 1773, but many of the original monuments are still preserved as ruins. Public buildings, churches, convents and old stately homes and colonial residences are examples of the baroque architecture and the prosperity of this ancient capital designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979. Antigua was one of the first cities in the New World to use the Spanish grid design in the layout of the streets. Today, Antigua retains its original charm and still has cobble stone streets and Spanish Colonial architecture. Antigua is one of the principal ceramic producing centers in Guatemala. The technique was inherited from Spain in the 16th Century. The manufacture of fruit carved in wood, wax products and traditional candies are other artisan activities that have made this colonial city famous. Tourism is also a major part of the local economy.