This morning, we head out to more fully explore Antigua’s narrow cobblestone streets and churches. From our hotel on Calle de Pasos (street of the steps) we can begin a walking route that is the site of processions during religious celebrations. The route includes a series of 13 small buildings with vaulted ceilings depicting the Stations of the Cross, Number I starts from San Francisco, and XIII ends at the El Calvario Church (Calvary Church). All stations are identical in form but the last three located inside the El Calvario Church have additional decorations and a baroque tinge.
Ruinas del los Remedios
Antigua has no shortage of churches; some in ruins with collapsed roofs and crumbling walls, evidence of the damaging earthquakes in this region. Here are a few.
Iglesia de Carmen
La Ermita de la Santa Cruz
Ruinas San Jose el Viejo
Between 1542 and 1666, the Dominican order built one of the largest, richest and most important convents in the colonial city; however, during the 1773 earthquake, both the convent and church were destroyed and the buildings were looted for construction material. The site was acquired as a private residence in 1970 by an American archaeologist, who performed extensive excavations before it was taken over by the Casa Santo Domingo Hotel. The hotel imaginatively restored it for visitors and the beautiful grounds include the picturesque ruined monastery church, the adjacent cloister with a replica of the original fountain, workshops, courtyards and beautiful gardens.
Casa Santo Domingo
Casa Santo Domingo Grounds
Casa Santo Domingo Gardens
After all that church seeing it was time for lunch and we found an eclectic little place with the best quesadillas I’ve ever had!
More walking, walking, walking and near the bus terminal we found San Jeronimo. I had seen a glimpse of some ruins the day we rode the chicken bus to Jocotenango but didn’t really know what it was.
This little oasis of tranquility was began in 1739, a small church and school dedicated to St. Jerome and completed in 1759. While it did not last long as a school it did serve as a customs house, barracks and stables. After the 1773 earthquake, it was abandoned, inhabited only by families who moved in without the permission of the authorities. In the 1800’s it was a tannery and a granary in the 1930’s before being restored. Today, it’s a peaceful haven in a bustling area of town. The maze of fallen masonry is beautifully contrasted with flowering weeds cascading from the crevices between stones; n the background is Agua Volcano.
San Jeronimo Grounds
San Jeronimo Flowers
It was quite a hike back to the hotel and by the time we reached the main plaza street entertainers were out and the children dressed in their Halloween costumes were beginning to appear.
We were ready for happy hour but it was raining by the time we returned so our rooftop perch was not desirable but we all managed to fit into our little room.
Oh my, oh my and another wonderful day, I love Antigua!