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All About Guatemala City by Francisco Grazioso

Guatemala City

Guatemala city is the third capital city since the spanish came to this land by the side of Ixhimche, moved to the Valley of Our Lady of Asumption, January 1rst of 1776, for the earthquakes in Antigua Guatemala, Guatemala city has a too much to offer.

We always begin the tour watching Avenida de las Americas, on south of Guatemala City, here countries such as Argentina, Mexico, El Salvador, Dominican Repúblic, Nicaragua, Honduras, Costa Rica, Cuba, Perú, and Chile has a monument, at the end of this avenue we have the Berlin Square, where is three real pieces of the Berlin Wall, and also show us a map of the divided Germany and the divided Berlin between 1961 to 1989. Germany has a influence in Guatemala in the century XVIII because many germans comes to Guatemala to a place of name Cobán on north Guatemala, and there them begun to work the coffee on coffee farms, in 1941 the general Jorge Ubico sent to take the germans lands and pass to the government, the germans got mixed with the kchi people mayan descent people who lives in Alta Verapaz area, now you can see some women dressing mayan costume and have white skin and green and blue eyes and them only speak german or kchi.

In a clear day you have an amazing view of the Amatitlán Lake and Pacaya Volcano from this point.

On Guatemala City the streets has no name, goes by avenues and streets this is a French design took by Raul Aguilar Batres, for make the shapes of streets and avenues.

* Avenida Reforma

Avenida Reforma GUATEMALA

Located between zone 10 and 9 here you have the financial district, offices, the embassy of Usa, and also almost finishing the street a beautiful house that belongs to the Department of education, on the front of this house you will see a bronze animals, and a gentleman riding a horse this gentleman was José María Reyna Barrios former embassador of Guatemala Repúblic on France, he saw this animals on Champs Elysees and he wants to do of Reforma Avenue something like that on Paris France.

At the end of Avenida Reforma or Reforma Avenue, we have the Department of Defense and the Botanic Garden with 250 different spices of flowers and trees that only grows in Guatemala.

* Yurrita Chappel

Yurrita Chappel guatemala

Ending the Avenue Reforma, we have Yurrita´s Chappel, this Chappel is private, from Yurrita Family, the history of the Church begun in 1888, when Mr Felipe Yurrita had a coffee farm, in Malacatán San Marcos, the Volcano that was there throw ashes destroy the coffee plantations and leave barrield on the House to Yurrita Family, he ask to Our Lady of All Fears that if he could go out alive with the family he make a construction of a Chappel in her Honor. The Church has gothic style and was open to public april of 1927.  Aside the Yurrita Family made a rest home, because that area of Guatemala City in 1927 was out of Guatemala City.

Outside we can see the Cross of the top is moved to the right side, because in 1976 febuary 4th Guatemala has a earthquake and the family leaves the cross moved to the right for reamember that date. This chapel has statues of Jesus Christ and discipules, and also on the front of the door them put sculpted on wood some builidings of Antigua Guatemala, and how this city remain before earthquake of 1773, in the middle of the door the seal of the King Charles the V.

Going further you see the Banco Industrial Builiding you will see in their square a mayan man statue playing the ball game, the mayan ball game was played with a rubber ball only using the hipps, the elbows and the knees, the game can last more than one day, the rings such as basketball game play was inside the ball game one ring on front of other but in vertical position.

Tells the story that was two teams and the winner team can kill the looser team. On the front of this square is the monument March 11th that represents the date march 11th of 1920 time when the dictator Manuel Estrada Cabrera, has to give the presidency of Guatemala.

Manuel Estrada Cabrera was a dictator such as I mention before, and Miguel Angel Asturias, wrote down about him in the book Mr President, that earn the nobel prize of literancy in 1967.

* Centro Civico or Civic Center

Centro Civico or Civic Center guatemala
Building of Credito Hipotecario Nacional

On this area of Guatemala City you can see the Building of Credito Hipotecario Nacional, that on front has mayan stellas of the pre classic time, done by the plastic artist Efraín Recinos in 1958, aside the Bank of Guatemala, on murals you can see shapes made by Carlos Mérida also in 1958, crossing the street we have the building of the Social Security system knows like Iggs and the City Hall, here of one side you can see on the wall the mayan culture and on the other side the spainsh culture, here we find also the Supreme Court , The Taxes Collectors Building and for finish this place we have  a monument that represent the peace of Guatemala, has two hands in position to the sky is two left hands, why two left hands? Because the left hand is the one that we have closer to the heart, beneath of two hands you have a big block and down that block you have 23 different arms that represent each arm of the mayan descent tribes that lives on Guatemala.

* Post Office Building and Ibarguen´s House

The Post Office building was made in the year 1932 by the President Jorge Ubico, former president of Guatemala 1931-1944, this beautiful building is a architectural jewel located in the downtown of Guatemala city, this building has an arch that is located in 12 street and 7th avenue, above that inconic arch, the seal of Guatemala City you have 5 small arches also, now this building is used by the city hall by teach music lessons to kids of few resources.

Crossing the street by the 7th avenue we find Ibarguen´s House, a House of 18  century that show us how the people use to live on Guatemala city with big patios and the house has the shape of a square, here you can find also a big pila, or a washer cloth place use to be big, the Guatemalan people still using the pila for clean the cloths.

Taking a walk by the 6th avenue now is a street of walk we find the churches of San Francisco and Saint Claire, San Francisco Church has aside a building now is the building of Homeland Security System of Guatemala, use to be a convent until 1895 government of Justo Rufino Barrios who sends out of the country to the monks and nuns, and priests and all the propietes of the church pass to be part of the state propieties.

The thing that I like the most of San Francisco Church is the altar made with wood and is one of the biggest churches of Guatemala City Downtown.

* Central Park

Central Park guatemala

On Central Park, we can see the National Palace made between 1939 and 1944 by former president Jorge Ubico, this palace is special because Jorge Ubico was a dictator also, and he wants to live for ever on this palace, reason why he left somethings of him there for example his seal, the national palace has 5 floors, and I told before the Arch of Post Office has arches above also 5 why? Because Mr Ubico was a such egolatric person Jorge has 5 files or letters and Ubico 5 files or letters, after this the National Palace has 1731 doors and in each look key pad he leaves his finger print, all has the seal of mr Ubico, even the color of the national palace, this place has inside part of mayan civilization but has more Spanish civilization such as armors and Spanish helmets outside of National Palace. The National Palace was builded by prisioners that got 25 cents for worked day, the coast of the National Palace was 2.5 million dollars.

* Cathedral

Cathedral guatemala

This is the second construction builded in the new Guatemala, or Guatemala City finished in 1781, this church was builded in honor to San Santiago, and to Saint Joseph, still having the real floor for that reason you do not feel the flat floor when you enter.

In Austria was during the second world war a organs factory, and Adolf Hitler heard of that, this company was owned by jewish people, the factory made 39 organs but them only sales 2 because was burned by Hitler one organ is find in the Cathedral of Neuremberg Germany, and the other one inside Guatemala City Cathedral, is a organ of pipes.

cathedral jesus guatemala
Black Jesus or Esquipulas inside Cathedral

* El Portal del Comercio

El Portal del Comercio guatemala

Famous building on downtown Guatemala because this was the first Guatemala Shopping Mall, made in the 19 Century inside has apartments and the famous Bar El Portalito open since 1927.

On Portal del Comercio lives Che Guevara when he lives on Guatemala between 1952-1954, and he get his drinks on El portalito, is a restaurant bar, where you can drink the special of the house Chibola, is called so because the glass where is served has a round shape, Chibola on Guatemalan Spanish means ball or marbles, and into the glass them put blond beer and black beer.

Mondays at noon this place is crowd, because them serve a special dish of name leg soup, is a special soup made with cow´s leg oil, and vegetables, meanwhile you can hear the marimba playing songs.

* Central Market

Special place where you can buy a tropical fruits and vegetables on the first floor, on second floor you find Guatemalan Crafts and textils is a interesting place to go, for buy and see the different textils that has Guatemala.

* Cerrito del Carmen, Carmel Hill

Carmel Hill guatemala

Carmel Hill was the first construction on Guatemala city in the year 1648, Saint Therese of Avila sent to Juan Cors, top put to Our Lady of Carmel somewhere in Guatemala, and he found that land, the first construction was very simply, the first church burned at all, and Our Lady of Carmel does not burn in that ocassion so late in 1800 them build other church, with bricks and Stone, from this point you can have a general view of Guatemala city, is the highest point in Guatemala City.

* Relieff Map

relief map guatemala

This is something unique on the world, the former president Justo Rufino Barrios in 1895 wants to see the political division of Guatemala, and sent two guys to see the whole country walking, this persons was the coronel Francisco Vela, and Claudio Urrutia, this guys walk by the whole country by 5 years and invent the theodolite, a special supply for missure of surfaces, them went walking and making draws of all. Finally Manuel Estrada Cabrera gave the field on the north part of Guatemala city where use to be a horse race track, for set the map.  This map is made by 3,500.00 bricks open to the public on August 5 of 1905, is a very important place to know if you come to Guatemala City, in 1999 Nasa, employees come to see the Map, and them saw that in the 95 per cent of that map the measures and sizes was correct, was very accurate missing only a 5 per cent.

map guatemala

* Kaminal Juyu

Kaminal Juyu guatemala

Located in the South West of Guatemala City is Kaminal Juyu or the Death´s Hill, in 1961 a group of persons wants to develop a residential area around and them found this archeological spot of the pre classical time, here you will see a museum, with the things them found inside the park, and also you will see a part of pyramid, inside Kaminal Juyu mayan people can develop their prayers, them let you go in if you are mayan priest, on this place you will see hills around, because need to be digged to find more supplies of mayan culture.

* The Beer Factory

Located on north of Guatemala City this Factory offers you tour by groups of 25 persons you need to call first, the tours are give only Tuesdays and Thursdays, you will see the beer brand Gallo, and other ones such as Montecarlo, Dorada, Dorada Ice, Moza.

* Cayalá Mall

Cayalá Mall guatemalaCayalá Mall 2 guatemala

Made in 2009, this mall is different to other ones, has a Spanish stile, and is a nice place to shop, here you can relax and make your shop something different.

Cayalá Mall 3 guatemala

* Craft Market

Craft Market guatemala

Located in zone 13 you can buy here with no crowd is a nice place for see Guatemalan authentic craft, you can see textiles and also other supplies made by local persons all in one place Craft Market.

* Museums

museums in guatemala

Guatemala city counts with museums such as the National Museum of Atropology and History, here you can see all the regional costumes of mayan descents and also maquettes of  Tikal and how Tikal how use to be, and another mayan Crafts this museum really worth to be seen.

francisco guatemala

* Guest blog, posted by:  Francisco Grazioso
                                            *(General Manager)
                                                         (Toscana Tours Guatemala)
                                                    *(Commercial Manager)
                                                                  [email protected]

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