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Antigua, Guatemala



Population  35,000 (2007)





Antigua Guatemala is a city in the central highlands of Guatemala famous for its well-preserved Spanish Baroque-influenced architecture as well as a number of ruins of colonial churches. It served as the capital of the Kingdom of Guatemala. It has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


Antigua Guatemala means "Ancient Guatemala" and was the third capital of Guatemala.  The Jesuits founded the school of "San Lucas of the Society of Jesus" in 1608, which became famous and was unrivaled in terms of literature and grammar lessons; it was attended by the citiy's elite classes.  On 18 July 1626 the Jesuit temple was inaugurated.  The city was damaged by continuous earthquakes that struck between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries, which led to the city being moved to different locations.



The monks of San Juan de Dios founded their hospital and monastery in 1636 and thereafter were in charge of the hospitals in the Kingdom of Guatemala. The strongest earthquakes experienced by the city of Santiago de los Caballeros before its final move in 1776 were the San Miguel earthquakes in 1717. At that time, the power of the Catholic Church over the Spanish Empire citizens was absolute and, therefore, any natural disaster was considered as divine punishment.  In 1751, the San Casimiro earthquake destroyed the city of Santiago de Guatemala once more.  Finally, in 1773, the Santa Marta earthquakes destroyed much of the town, leading to a third change in location for the city by order of the Spanish Crown.  The final location was the Valley of the Shrine, where Guatemala City, the modern capital of Guatemala, now stands.   The badly damaged city of Santiago de los Caballeros was ordered abandoned, although not everyone left, and was thereafter referred to as la Antigua Guatemala (the Old Guatemala).  


Guatemala gained independence from Spain in 1821.



​Source: Wikipedia



In April 1920 Prince Wilhelm of Sweden visited Antigua Guatemala and wrote about his impressions of the city.  His book is an objective description of the terrible conditions the road and the ruins used to be in: for some little way outside Guatemala City it was a fairly decent car ride, but then the roads began developing sandhills, and later, ravines of tumbled stone as two years earlier, the country had been devastated by the a powerful earthquake and government corruption made recovery impossible.


Compared to Guatemala City at the time, Antigua was quite nicely kept, although all the churches were equally dilapidated and left entirely to themselves, as rebuilding since 1773 was confined to the strictly necessary. For the most part, only blank walls and shattered domes remained to greet the visitor by 1920.


Due to its popularity amongst tourists and a well developed tourism infrastructure, Antigua Guatemala is often used as a central location from which many choose to set up base in order to visit other nearby tourist areas.  Antigua also holds a sizeable retirement community from the US as well as Europe.


Antigua is known as a destination for people who want to learn Spanish through immersion. There are many Spanish language schools in Antigua, and it is one of the most popular and best recognized centers for Spanish language study by students from Europe, Asia and North America. Language institutes are one of the primary industries of Antigua, along with tourism.

​Source: Wikipedia


Prayer Points

   1) Cafe Refrescante: a ministry to help overcome drug dependency and homelessness. We offer free coffee and games.

       It is meant to be conducive to sharing the love of God. 


   2) Casa Refrescante: a halfway house for those further along in the recovery process. YWAM Refrescante's staff also live here. 


   3) Pray for the partnerships of like-minded street ministries for us to work closely with. 


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