Tanque de Agua La Unión - Antigua Guatemala
La Antigua Guatemala (commonly referred to as just Antigua or La Antigua) is a city in the central highlands of Guatemala famous for its well-preserved Spanish Mudéjar-influenced Baroque architecture as well as a number of spectacular ruined churches. It has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site (1979).
Antigua Guatemala serves as the municipal seat for the surrounding municipality of the same name. It also serves as the departmental capital of Sacatepéquez Department.
La Antigua Guatemala means the "Old Guatemala" and was the third capital of Guatemala. The first capital of Guatemala was founded on the site of a Cakchiquel-Maya city, now called Iximche, on July 25, 1524 -the day of Saint James- and called La Muy Noble y Muy Leal Ciudad de los Caballeros de Santiago de Goathemalan (The Very Noble and Very Loyal City of the Knights of Saint James of Guatemala). Naturally, St. James became the patron saint of the city. After several Cakchiquel uprisings, the capital was moved to a more suitable site in the Valley of Almolonga on November 22, 1527, and kept its original name. When this city, now named Ciudad Vieja, was destroyed by a flood, the authorities decided to move once more, this time to the Valley of Panchoy. So, on March 10, 1543 the Spanish conquistadors founded present-day Antigua, and again, it was named Santiago de los Caballeros. For more than 200 years it served as the seat of the military governor of the Spanish colony of Guatemala, a large region that included almost all of present-day Central America and the five southernmost States of Mexico: Chiapas, Tabasco, Campeche, Yucatán, and Quintana Roo. In 1566 King Felipe II of Spain gave it the title of"Muy Noble y Muy Leal" ("Very Noble and Very Loyal").
In 1773, a series of earthquakes destroyed much of the town, which led to the third change in location for the city. The Spanish Crown ordered (1776) the removal of the capital to a safer location, the Valley of the Shrine, where Guatemala City, the modern capital of Guatemala, now stands. This new city did not retain its old name and was christened Nueva Guatemala de la Asunción (New Guatemala of the Ascension) and its patron saint is Our Lady of Ascension. The badly damaged city of Santiago de los Caballeros was ordered abandoned, although not everyone left, and was referred to as la Antigua Guatemala, or Old Guatemala.