Antigua Guatemala, after the earthquake


People living in Antigua Guatemala were ordered to leave the city in 1773, however not everyone wanted to do it. Poor people stayed, while wealthy families and church institutions went to the new valley.

People who stayed used the ruins of churches and convents as their homes or places of business. One example was the convent of the Compañía de Jesús, which was the municipal market place until 1976.

Years passed and people made their best to resist the situation, rebuilding their homes and trying to preserve their customs.  Antigua grew slowly through the 19th century, during which period some restoration work was done on the cathedral. But it was not until the mid-20th century that the historic and architectural value of the colonial buildings and ruins began to be appreciated.

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