Around the square were the main religious and political buildings of the country.
The cathedral, on the east side, was built between 17, with the towers being completed in 1867.
Its massive structure incorporates baroque and classical elements and has withstood numerous earthquakes.
), locally known as Guatemala or Guate, is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Guatemala, and the most populous in Central America.
The city is located in the south-central part of the country, nestled in a mountain valley called Valle de la Ermita (English: Hermitage Valley). Humans have long inhabited and settled in the areas in and around modern-day Guatemala City.
Upon the advent of agriculture, some of these early Neolithic settlements grew to become large, stratified cities.
Testimony of this can be seen in the western suburbs of Guatemala City, where the ruins of the central ceremonial center of the Preclassic Maya city of Kaminaljuyu are located.
Archeological evidence demonstrates that Kaminaljuyu was first occupied by the Maya around 1500 BC, with the site being continuously inhabited until around 1200 AD.
The footprint of the archeological site is extensive, proof of the size and sophistication of Kaminaljuyu at its Preclassic peak.
As a result, in the late 20th century, the unregulated suburbs of modern-day Guatemala City grew above and around the ruins.
Many of the outlying ruins, along with several hundred temple mounds, were covered over with freeways, shopping centers, businesses, luxury hotels and residential areas.
However, the central ceremonial center of Kaminaljuyu came under the protection of the Guatemalan government and is now a park.
In Spanish colonial times, Guatemala City was a small town.
It had a monastery called El Carmen, founded in 1628.