Guatemala: Antigua – Convento Santa Clara

Devastating earthquakes have struck Antigua nearly a dozen times in the last five centuries, often nearly wiping out all the structures. Consequently, Antigua is full of ruined churches and monasteries and convents. One of the grandest is Convento Santa Clara in the heart of the city, an enormous complex covering an entire city block. It was founded in 1699 and took 15 years to build, before being reduced to rubble just two years later. The convent was fully rebuilt by 1734 and then again absolutely wiped out in 1773, after which the ruins stayed abandoned and all the bins moved to Guatemala City. Some parts of the complex have been refurbished and partially rebuilt, including several beautiful courtyard and the main Baroque church full of decorative stucco.