Antigua Guatemala

Antigua Guatemala, town in southern Guatemala, capital of Sacatepéquez Department, near Guatemala City. Antigua Guatemala is situated in a narrow valley at the foot of the dormant volcano Agua (about 3752 m/12,310 ft). It is the market town for the surrounding highlands, in which fine grades of coffee beans are grown. Wheat, sugarcane, and fruits and vegetables are other important highland crops. Founded in 1542 after the nearby town of Ciudad Vieja was destroyed in a flood, Antigua Guatemala was for more than 200 years the seat of the military governor of the Spanish colony of Guatemala, a large region that included almost all of present-day Central America. The town was almost completely destroyed in 1773 by an earthquake, and Guatemala City was founded as the new capital. A number of well-preserved Spanish colonial buildings survive, however, and make the town a tourist attraction. Population (1989 estimate) 26,631.

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