Arco de Santa Catalina
Three blocks north of Parque Central along 5a Avenida Norte (also known as Calle del Arco) is one of Antigua’s most recognizable landmarks, the Santa Catalina archway. It is all that remains of a convent dating to 1613.
As the convent grew, it expanded to include a structure across the street. The arch then was built to allow the nuns to cross to the other side while avoiding contact with the general populace in accordance with strict rules governing seclusion.
Its current version with a clock tower is a reconstruction dating to the 19th century, as the original was destroyed in the 1773 earthquakes. The clock is a French model, which needed to be wound every three days. It stopped working after the 1976 earthquake but was repaired in 1991. Looking south through the archway, you’ll find some nice framing for an unobstructed view of Agua Volcano.
The archway is practically an Antigua icon and is beautifully painted in a rich orange hue with white accents that have become delightfully aged.
© Al Argueta from Moon Guatemala, 3rd Edition. Photos © Al Argueta www.alargueta.com