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Guatemala City

Guatemala City (in full, La Nueva Guatemala de la Asunción; locally known as Guatemala or, informally, Guate) is the capital and largest city of Guatemala. Population estimates for Guatemala City range from 1 million to over 2.5 million people. The city is located in a mountain valley in the south central part of the country; this can sometimes cause air polution to stay concentrated in the city.


Within the confines of modern Guatemala City is the ancient Maya city of Kaminaljuyu. Kaminaljuyu dates back some 2,000 years, and is known to have traded with distant Teotihuacan in central Mexico. The center of Kaminaljuyu was located a short distance from the older part of Guatemala City, and in the late 20th century the city grew around the ruins (and in some cases over some of the outlying ruins before they were protected). The central ceremonial center of Kaminaljuyu is now a park within the city.

In Spanish colonial times this was a small town with a monastery called El Carmen, founded in 1620. The capital of Spanish colonial Central America was moved here after an earthquake destroyed the old capital Antigua Guatemala in 1775, and resulted in a great expansion of the city.

Features of the City

Guatemala City is the economic, governmental, and cultural capital of the Republic, as well as the largest metropolis in all Central America. In addition to a wide variety of restaurants, hotels, and shops, the city has some 30 art galleries and museums (including some fine collections of Pre-Columbian art). There are 5 universities, including the Universidad de San Carlos, the third oldest university in the New World.

National Palace

National Post Office Building