San Francisco

begun 1579; inaugurated 1702; destroyed by earthquake damage in 1773 and left in ruins until rebuilt in 1960s

This church is essentially reconstructed since it was severely damaged by earthquakes. Originally the complex covered the equivalent of four city blocks with a school, hospital, music rooms, printing press, and a monastery. After the earthquake in 1773, it was left as a ruin although the chapel where Santo Hermano Pedro de San José de Bethancourt remained intact and a popular destination for pilgrims. (Santo Hermano Pedro, a Franciscan from the Canary Islands who was credited with a number of miracles, was made the first Central American saint in 2002 by Pope John Paul II.) According to Elizabeth Bell, the church "was rebuilt in the 1960s due to the efforts of José García Bauer, engineer Oscar Martínex Dighero, and many others who joined to recreate a church in honor of Santo Hermano Pedro. While engineers rebuilt the church, they failed to give it its original proportions and flavor: none of the art there today is originally from San Francisco" (61). The ruined monastery, which can be visited, does, however, give a sense of its former grandeur.

The entrance gate into the sacred precinct and an engraving from The Illustrated London News, March 12, 1859


The reconstructed facade

The Solomonic columns of the entrance gate are repeated on the facade in three registers in grand form. This style of column is characteristic of the Churrigueresque style.

Asymmetric facade

The squatty bell towers are joined to the left of the facade.

Ruins of the monastery cloister with imprint of large central fountain


Work consulted or Cited:
Elizabeth Bell. Antigua Guatemala: The City and its Heritage. Guatemala: Textos y Formas Impresas, 1999.
Iain Stewart. The Rough Guide to Guatemala. ?: 2012

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© 2014 Mary Ann Sullivan. I have photographed (on site), scanned, and manipulated all the images on these pages. Please feel free to use them for personal or educational purposes. They are not available for commercial purposes.