Guatemala: Antigua – Iglesia de San Francisco el Grande

Hello Antigua, the old capital of the Spanish empire in Central America and the most beautiful (and touristy) town in the country! Iglesia de San Francisco el Grande is one of the most important churches in the city. When Franciscan missionaries arrived to Guatemala in 1530 they built their first chapel here, which was destroyed in an earthquake in 1565, and a new church was built in 1579 just a block away. The ruins of this building are now the oldest ruins in Antigua. The current church was in 1684, and then partially destroyed and rebuilt in subsequent earthquakes of 1691, 1717, 1751, 1773, 1917, and 1976 (see a pattern here?). The beautiful baroque church is spectacular inside and out. Also here is the tomb of Saint Joseph Betancur, a Spanish missionary canonized by the church and now the site of pilgrimage.