Guatemala City Landmarks and Monuments
(Guatemala City, Central Highlands, Guatemala)
The Plaza Mayor, or Central Park, is the heart of Guatemala City and contains many of the most impressive structures and landmarks, with crowds of people coming here to people-watch and relax by day. The National Palace of Culture is one of the plaza's top buildings and can be seen on a tour.
Just across from the Palacio Nacional de la Cultura, the Metropolitan Cathedral is perhaps the most impressive landmark in the city and has a large square out front, while La Merced Church is Baroque, quaint and beautiful.
Other landmarks and sights to see in the capital of Guatemala City include the neighbouring ancient Kaminaljuyu Archaeological Park, and the more recently built San Francisco Church. To enjoy a traditional Guatemalan performance of the arts, consider getting a ticket to a show at the Miguel Angel Asturias Cultural Centre.
National Palace of Culture (Palacio Nacional de la Cultura)
Address: Parque Central, Avenida 6a / Avenida 7a / Calle 6a, Zona 1, Guatemala City, Guatemala, GT
Tel: +502 2253 0748
The Palacio Nacional is amongst the best kept buildings in the whole of Guatemala City and lies at the northern end of Central Park
, where it was built between the years of 1936 and 1943. Construction of this presidential palace involved much prison labour and it was designed to be the origin of all the city's roads, with this spot named 'Zero Kilometer '(Kilometro Cero). The architecture is quite breathtaking and combines both neo-classical and Spanish Renaissance features. Although the palace no longer functions as a home for the president, with the majority of the government's offices being located elsewhere, this landmark now operates as a museum-type attraction and visitors are welcomed, with guided tours laid on. Visitors joining a tour of the complex can check out its nether regions, including its interior courtyards, its function rooms, its famous presidential balcony and its onsite art gallery. The murals are particularly stunning here.
Open hours: Monday to Saturday - 09:00 to 12:00, 14:00 to 17:00
Metropolitan Cathedral (Catedral Metropolitana)
Address: Parque Central, Avenida 7a, Zona 1, Guatemala City, Guatemala, GT
A large and most imposing landmark overlooking the Parque Central, the Metropolitan Cathedral is known locally as the Catedral Metropolitana. This religious building is a huge blue-domed structure with an impressive interior built to resist earthquakes, and hails from the 1800s. The massive pillared entranceway is the most intriguing facet of the cathedral's architecture, while there are many beautiful carvings and paintings within.
Open hours: daily - 06:00 to 19:00
La Merced Church (Iglesia La Merced)
Address: Calle 6a, Zona 1, Guatemala City, Guatemala, GT
Tel: +502 2232 0631
La Merced Church is certainly one of the city's prettiest Catholic churches and is similar to the church of the same name in nearby Antigua
, also being Baroque by design and grace. The interior is well laid out and displays a collection of religious art and sculptures. Originally constructed by the historic order of La Merced, the church actually became the property of the Jesuits during the early part of the 19th century.
Open hours: daily - 06:00 to 18:00
Church of Saint Francis (Iglesia de San Francisco)
Address: Calle 13 / Avenida 6, Zona 1, Guatemala City, Guatemala, GT
Tel: +502 2232 6325
San Francisco Church is a Baroque-style church hailing from the early 1800s and is especially noted for its highly detailed wood carvings, including the crucification of Jesus. The main altar of this Franciscan temple is simply fantastic and it is well worth coming here to see this alone. King Charles V of Spain also donated many intriguing items for the church.
Open hours: daily - 06:00 to 17:00
Kaminaljuyu Archaeological Park (Parque Arqueologico Kaminaljuyu)
Address: Corner Calle 11a / Avenida 24a, Zona 7, Guatemala City, Guatemala, GT
Tel: +502 2322 5571
Just 4 km / 2.5 miles to the west of the city centre in the Zona 7 is this impressive archaeological park. This pre-Classic Maya city named Kaminaljuyu came about in around 400 BC and was comprised of 200 structures at the height of its power. Unfortunately, most ruins are now buried, although you can see some tombs, an acropolis, an excavated ball court, various burial statues and evidence of pyramids. If you want to check out some of the artefacts pulled from the site, then visit the National Museum of Ethnology and Archaeology
Open hours: Monday to Saturday - 08:00 to 16:00
Miguel Angel Asturias Cultural Centre (Centro Cultural Miguel Angel Asturias)
Address: Calle del Castillo, Zona 1, Guatemala City, Guatemala, GT
Tel: +502 2232 4041
The futuristic-looking Centro Cultural Miguel Angel Asturias is the place to head for Guatemalan dance, theatre and concert performances. Also known as the National Theatre (Teatro Nacional) and based within the Civic Centre (Centro Civico), the complex has a fine locale overlooking the city and houses a trio of theatres. This leading entertainment venue was completed in the early 1970s and has excellent facilities, reasonably priced tickets and an outdoor amphitheatre.
Open hours: daily - 08:00 to 18:00