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Guatemala City

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The capital of Guatemala since 1775, Guatemala City is now the economic, governmental, and cultural centre of the country. It is also the largest city in all of Central America with a population of 2.3 million.

The site for Guatemala City was inhabited as far back as 1200-1000BC when there was an ancient Maya city named Kaminaljuyu in its place. This city was inhabited for about 2000 years before it was abandoned in around about 600-900AD. Modern day Guatemala City has built over the vast majority of the ruins left behind by Kaminaljuyu, however, the central ceremonial centre has been protected by the Guatemalan governement and it is now a park in the centre of the city.

By the time of the Spanish Colonial period, Guatemala City was a small town. Then, in 1775 the Spanish decided to move the location of their capital city from Antigua to Guatemala City, due to a large earthquake which destroyed large parts of Antigua in 1773.

Modern day Guatemala City is divided up in 22 zones. The historic part of the city is located in zone 1. Here are many of the important historical buildings including the National Congress, the President’s House, National Library, the Metropolitan Cathedral and the National Palace of Culture.