"Welcome to Antigua" reads the sign, when in reality it should say 'Antigua welcomes you'. Antigua is a marvel, like a big warm hug. A place of rare beauty, significant history and vibrant culture. Boasting impressive collection of colonial relics, streetscapes of pastel facades, thriving food and arts culture and you could easily be confused for thinking you were walking the streets of a city in Spain if it wasn't for the distant echo of Reggaeton music. Juxtapose this with the rugged volcanic terrain that boarder the city and you have a scene set for adventure.
I was hooked immediately. Antigua has so much to offer. Why you ask? Antigua was the centre for the entire region from 1524 until 1773 when following an earthquake and destruction of most of the city, the capital was moved to Guatemala City. Antigua endured four moves over its lifespan and evidently some residents were unwilling to abandon their stations, resisting the relocation to Guatemala City, electing to stay behind in the original town, which there on in became known as “La Antigua Guatemala”, or Old Guatemala.
The beautiful town then lay dormant for almost a century until the mid-1800s when increased agricultural production, particularly coffee and grain, brought new investment to the region. So in short, like me..coffee brought this cultural gem back to life. Antigua's real beauty is its resilience. Some of the ecclesiastical stuctures and buildings are beautifully restored, while many others have remained broken down, degrading overtime representing the harshness of history. Despite this turmultuous history of earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and floods, revolutions and virtual abandonment, Antigua has a cultural pride that has allowed it to rebirth as a thriving metropolis. Maybe this is why i love it. The story of a town, overcoming hardship to thrive in a new age. I can't wait to return.