Iglesia y Convento de las Capuchinas
The Las Capuchinas Convent (2a Avenida Norte and 2a Calle Oriente, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. daily, $4) was abandoned after being destroyed in the earthquake of 1773. Restoration began in 1943 and is still being carried out today; the convent now also serves as a museum.
The convent’s foundation dates to 1726, making it the city’s fourth, and is the work of renowned Antigua architect Diego de Porres. There are beautiful fountains and courtyards flanked by sturdy stone pillars with stately arches and flowering bougainvillea.
It is certainly the most elegant of Antigua’s convents and well worth a look for those with even a casual interest in colonial Latin American architecture. The convent was the haunt of the Capuchin nuns from Madrid, a rather strict order limiting its numbers to 28 and requiring the nuns to sleep on wooden beds with straw pillows and sever all ties to the outside world.
The church consists of a single nave lacking side aisles. There are two choir areas, one adjacent to the altar on the ground floor and another on the second floor at the end of the nave.
After the 1773 earthquakes and the subsequent transfer of the Guatemalan capital to its new location, many of the convent’s historical artifacts were likewise transferred to their new home in the San Miguel de Capuchinas convent in modern-day Guatemala City.
© Al Argueta from Moon Guatemala, 3rd Edition. Photos © Al Argueta www.alargueta.com