Central America Guatemala Antigua
University San Carlos

A brief description.

The city Antigua Guatemala

Antigua Guatemala, founded in 1543, was the seat of Spanish colonial government for the Kingdom of Guatemala, which included Chiapas (southern Mexico), Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica. The full title bestowed upon the city was Muy Leal y Muy Noble Ciudad de Santiago de los Caballeros de Goathemala, that is, the "Very Loyal and Very Noble City of Saint James of the Knights of Guatemala."

By 1773, in addition to the cathedral and government palace the city could boast of over 30 churches, 18 priories and monasteries, 15 hermitages, 10 chapels, the university of San Carlos, five hospitals, an orphanage, fountains and parks, and municipal water and sewer systems.

The city Guatemala Antigua was designated a Cultural Heritage of Mankind site by UNESCO in 1979.  

The Dominicans in Guatemala Antigua

The Spanish Dominicans arrived in Guatemala Antigua in 1529. Dominic of Betanzos (1480-13.9.1549) founded a small priory on land donated by Pedro de Alvarado, moving to the current address in 1542. The church, Santo Domingo, however, was not built until 1665-66. The 1717 quake left the church roofless and in 1773 the complex was reduced to ruins.

The priory, - today the hotel Casa Santo Domingo -,
is beautifully decorated, with colonial sculptures, fountains and abundance of flowers. It is especially luxurious during Easter week.
Recent archaeological excavations have turned up some unexpected finds at the site. A painting of Christ, the Virgin Mary, Mary Magdalene and John the Apostle was found. It was painted in 1683, and only discovered by placing an ultraviolet light over it. Also, while opening a vent to resolve a humidity problem in 1997, human remains were found.
Within the priory grounds are the Colonial Art Museum, with displays of Guatemalan baroque imagery and silverware, dating from the late 17th to late 18th century. The Archaeological Museum is situated in the original meeting room of the priory and includes some Maya ceramics and pots.

The University San Carlos Borromeo

Francois Marroquin, since 1529  bishop of Guatemala, requested the Spanish King to start an University. The Spanish King supported this request and the Dominicans received the mandate to initiate this plan.
After many difficulties, the university started 1676, named La Real Y Pontificia  Universidad de San Carlos Borromeo, and received the same rights as the universities of Mexico, Peru and Spain in 1687.

The present portal was built in 1832 when the building was turned into a public school, the university having been moved to Guatemala City where it remains today. The interior of the old university building features a fine courtyard with a fountain surrounded by Moorish arches. Its many repairs and renovations notwithstanding, the colonial architecture has been faithfully retained and this building is one of the most beautiful and intact examples in Antigua. Since 1936 it houses the Museo de Arte Colonial, or Museum of Colonial Art.


The courtyard of the old University San Carlos

Guatemala 1943, Mi 435, Sc C125.


Seal of the University of Guatemala, with the symbol of Saint Santiago (Saint James) on his white horse. and the Vulcan's: Agua and Fuego.

Guatemala 1949, Mi 494-496: Sc C163-165.
                     This stamp is Mi 495, Sc C164.


The University celebrated the Third Centenary in 1976, (1676-1976).


                        Seal of the University 1978, Mi 1111, Sc C662.


Students of different Departments.1978, Mi 1112, Sc C663.


                                Student in 17th century clothes.
                               1978, Mi 1113, Sc C664.

   Student,1978, and molecular model.
                  1978, Mi 1114, Sc C665.

Guatemala 1978, Mi 1111-1114: Sc C662-665.     

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