Guatemala's capital city is the most modern and cosmopolitan city in Central America. Fast paced and vibrant, Guatemala City (or Guate as it is referred to locally) is a wonderful blend of old and new and possesses a distinct Latin charm. Today, Guatemala City has over two million inhabitants. Its location, facilities and the modern International Airport "La Aurora" make it the starting point for visits to the rest of Guatemala.
Guatemala City was founded in 1776, after a devastating earthquake destroyed the former Spanish capital of Central America, "La Cuidad de Santiago de los Caballeros de Guatemala", known today as Antigua Guatemala (or simply Antigua). Sitting on top of three tectonic plates, Guatemala City is spread out in a valley with the Pacaya and Agua volcanos resigning on its horizon.
Guatemala City has an active cultural life throughout the year. Most of the country's museums are to be found here. There are also more than 30 galleries showing Guatemalan artists in painting, photography, engraving and sculpture. Theaters present a wide range of plays, especially national playwrights.
Visitors interested in handicraft will find them in the Central Market, located a block away from the Cathedral. At the Central Market you will not only find unique Guatemalan handicrafts, but also see the colorful variety of local flowers, fruits and vegetables. The Relief Map in Minerva Park is a good place to see the extension of Guatemala and if you have never been to Paris you should visit "Torre el Reformador", the world's only scale replica of the Eiffel Tower.
Guatemala City offers a vibrant Latin charm that integrates itself among both the city's historical and modern trappings. Between its active year round cultural scene, antique churches and the thriving Guatemala City night life, Guatemala's capital has something to offer visitors willing to put up with its sometimes overwhelming atmosphere.