Antigua is located in the central highlands of Guatemala, surrounded by 3 12,000 foot-plus volcanoes (Agua, Acatenango, and Volcan de Fuego (which maintains constant low-level volcanic activity). The city was founded in 1543 by Conquistadors, and has proceeded to migrate throughout the area because of destructive earthquakes. In the 1500’s alone, there were destructive earthquakes and volcanic lahers roughly every 10 years.
The city served as a major administrative centre in central America, as far north as Chiapas Mexico), on and off until nearly the present. Most of the city was destroyed in the devastating Santa Marta earthquake in 1773. This is a classic ‘rim of fire’ story…destruction and rebuilding.
Now the city is a UNESCO World heritage Site. The Spanish baroque architecture and colorful vernacular housing along cobbled streets gives a strong identity to the place. There are several churches and even more partly destroyed Church facades of interest. In many ways the place is touristy (folks gotta make a living), but prohibition of large buses on the narrow streets has cut into the milieu of mass tourism and creates a more peaceful city.