Of the four churches in Gracias, La Merced, a block north of the parque (square) is by far the most attractive. Construction on its ornate sculpted facade began in 1611 and lasted 30 years. It is open on Saturday, when mass is held.
The main church on the parque, La Iglesia de San Marcos, was built in 1715 (open on Sunday). Next door, formerly used as the casa cural (priests’ house) and now housing a radio station, is the building that once housed the Audiencia de los Confines. A total renovation of the central park is scheduled to be completed in 2009, which will hopefully turn it back into a sight worth seeing.
In the center of a shady square a few blocks southwest of the main square is La Iglesia de San Sebastián, also known as La Ermita. Built in 1930, the exterior at least is in good condition—it’s hard to know anything about the interior, since the church only opens for a mass once a year, on its namesake day (January 20, commemorating the death of Saint Sebastian). Gracias has four churches but currently only one priest. The surrounding park is basically a dirt lot, but it has some good play equipment.
© Chris Humphrey and Amy E. Robertson from Moon Honduras, 5th Edition