Centro Cultural Casa Santo Domingo
Antigua’s finest museum is housed inside the Hotel Casa Santo Domingo (3a Calle Oriente #28, tel. 7832-0140, 9 a.m.–6 p.m. Mon.–Sat., 11:15 a.m.–6 p.m. Sun., $5). The site was once the city’s largest and wealthiest monastery, with a church completed in 1666, but it was damaged and eventually destroyed by the 18th- century earthquakes.
Several museums are housed within the same complex, including the colonial museum harboring Catholic relics, among them an old Roman coin found during the excavations for the hotel’s construction. Other highlights of this wonderful historic complex include a gorgeous monastery church, cleared of rubble and restored in the early 1990s. It is now frequently used for weddings.
Below this area are two crypts. The first of these, the Cripta del Calvario, has a well-preserved Crucifixion mural. The other crypt harbors two graves with human bones.
There is also a small archaeological museum, but the highlight here is the Museo Vigua de Arte Precolombino y Vidrio Moderno, a fantastic, well-presented juxtaposition of colonial and pre-Columbian artifacts mixed with glass art. Rounding out the impressive list of attractions is the Casa de la Cera, an elaborate candle shop.
© Al Argueta from Moon Guatemala, 3rd Edition. Photos © Al Argueta www.alargueta.com