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Top Rated Attractions in Guatemala City

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Centro Cultural Miguel Angel Asturias

This theater was named after the Literature Nobel Prize winner, Miguel Angel Asturias. Its construction started in 1951, and the building was finally completed in 1978. Nine years later it was declared part of the National Heritage. With an area of 88,927 square meters, the building is designed to look like a seated jaguar. It is the largest theater in Guatemala and regularly puts on popular music concerts, choral concerts, classical and modern ballets, as well as operas and zarzuelas (Spanish light operas). The facility includes a smaller theater for plays and conferences and a small open-air theater.

Zoológico La Aurora

Inaugurated in 1925, the zoo is mostly visited by families on weekends, when it gets really busy, and by school groups during the week. It has a wide variety of animals from Guatemala and other parts of the world. Animals are placed in cages which resemble their natural habitats, and there are many information boards. A tour around the zoo can take from a half to a full day. Food, sweets and drinks are available from stands at the entrance and around the park. There are also recreation areas for children and benches strategically placed for adults needing a rest.

Museo Popol Vuh

This museum displays a collection of highly artistic, historical and scientific value, that includes archaeological objects from Central America and colonial art. It shows the development of Guatemalan culture throughout the years. It offers special guided tours for children and a workshop of colonial silverware for youngsters. The shop, located in the reception area, stocks books, magazines, posters, calendars and paintings, all related to the Mayan culture from the pre-Hispanic and colonial period. They also stock folk, marimba and classical music CDs, as well as videos and maps of Guatemala.

Museo Ixchel del Traje Indígena

This museum specializes in the collection, preservation, research, promotion and compilation of documents related to the Mayan textiles in Guatemala. The colorful exhibition consists of an extensive collection of textiles from over 140 communities produced in different periods. The funky interior of the museum acts as an alluring backdrop for the two permanent exhibitions: watercolors by Carmen L. Pettersen depicting the Mayan costumes, and paintings by Andres Curruchich showing the daily customs of the Kaqchikel Mayan community. Its facilities include an art gallery displaying handicrafts and paintings, a bookstore and a shop selling textiles, lamps, jewelry, pictures, mirrors, wooden furniture and other handmade goods. There is even a library specializing in Mayan textiles and related subjects, and an area for children, the Museo de la Niñez y de la Juventud (Museum of Children and Young People). The latter conducts several interactive activities related to textiles such as painting, embroidering and weaving on wooden looms, using natural inks.

Museo Nacional de Arqueología y Etnología

Founded in 1945, the National Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology houses a collection of Mayan archaeological remains. These are mainly jade and obsidian, though there are also pottery pieces and objects taken from royal tombs. The building dates back to the 1940's and its architecture is in the style of that period. After being closed for several years for refurbishment, the museum was reopened in 1977 as a showcase for the legacy of the Maya.

Cathedral of Guatemala City

A traditional church constructed in the classical style, the Cathedral of Guatemala City has established itself as a significant spot in the city. The cathedral's structure is reminiscent of baroque architecture, with twin bell towers flanking the main entrance of the building. Spires jut from the vaulting roof of the church, and the stones are engraved with symbols. A statue is embedded into the wall above the vestibule. The interior of the cathedral is simple yet elegant, rows of benches neatly lined in the nave overlooking the altar. Intricate chandeliers swing from the arched ceilings of the building, and the cathedral is truly a testament to the architectural styles which prevailed in the past.

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