Palace of the General Captains

It is the ideal destination for trips with family, couples or friends. The palace of the general captains is a place not to be missed in Antigua Guatemala, within its collections you can learn about the history and culture of the colonial city.

Also called the Royal Palace, this building of imposing architecture served as a home for Pedro de Alvarado according to historians. It is located next to the central park, on 5 Calle Poniente, and can be visited by day or night since it is very well lit.

Historical review of the Palace of the general captains

For more than 200 years the palace was the main seat of the Spanish government during the captaincy in the city of Santiago de los Caballeros. This building of colonial structure and architecture was completed in 1678.

But… What is its history?

During the years 1549 and 1563 the properties in the southeast of the central square were acquired by the Spanish crown. Alonso López Cerrato, president of the Royal Academy of the Confines, settled there.

The graduate served as governor and captain general, giving instructions for the construction of the building of governance. The first building was small, made of tile with adobe walls and a coffered ceiling with a portal.

The construction of the royal houses took place in the year 1558, where the auditors of the royal audience were installed, and the residence of the Captain General. Over the years, new houses were built that housed the royal house, the dragon battalion barracks, and the prison, among others.

At the end of 1678 the Palace of the Captains General was already made up of two levels. Within its structure, a wooden portal, tile roof and eaves stood out, as well as columns made of wood.

Thus it became the seat of government. Until the city of Santiago de los Caballeros was moved to the current city of Guatemala. The move was prompted by the constant earthquakes that destroyed much of the city.

Approximately during the 19th century the city remained in total abandonment, being during the year 1813 when the families begin to return and occupy again their properties.
With the reconstruction of the city, the reconstruction of the Palace of the Captains General also began. J. Ignacio Irigoyen was in charge of the reconstruction, later the facade was rebuilt during the government of General Manuel Lisandro Barillas Berciàn.

After the reconstruction of the royal palace, it was used by the political leadership, the first section of the police and the court of first instance. Since then until today the building maintains the same architecture.

What to see in the Palace of the Captains General

From the central square you can see the colonial architecture of the building, what stands out the most is

  1. 54 semicircular arches that can be seen in the two levels that make up this emblematic building.
  2. Its colonial architecture can be observed from any point. From the square it is observed in its greater splendor.
  3. Tarja worked in stone that is finished off in the oriental arches.
  4. A real spectacle can be observed by the tourist at night, since the arches and the interior corridor are completely illuminated.
  5. It currently serves as a cultural centre and museum. Because it was considered uninhabitable by CONRED, only a few specific areas can be visited.
  6. For further and more extensive tourist information on the tourist destinations in Antigua Guatemala, there is an office of the Inguat.

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