San Juan del Obispo

Located south of La Antigua, at about 15 minutes from the city center, you will find San Juan del Obispo. This municipality (declared in 1935) was an important part of the third city of the Kingdom of Guatemala (during its time in the Panchoy Valley). Down its cobble-stone streets you can reach a beautiful square where you can find a magnificent church and you will notice that one side there is a convent – both built in the sixteenth century.
The land where the village, which at that time was inhabited by Kaqchikeles, was given to Bishop Francisco Marroquín (the first bishop of America) in gratitude for services rendered. It is in memory of the bishop that the original name of the town was changed to the one we know today.
The church – with a single nave, with wooden columns resting on stone bases that support the ceiling – is considered one of the oldest in the country. Inside the church there are conserved altarpieces from the 17th and 18th centuries that have been restored because, over time, the process of oxidation of the gold they have has accelerated.
San Juan del Obispo was visited by a large number of Franciscan friars who were given the convent of residence.
During the eighteenth century, the convent was not inhabited by the Franciscans however in the 1960’s the priests of the Congregation of Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (Claretians) lived there. Finally, when the priests left, the archbishop gave the care of the convent to the nuns of Bethania, who live there to this day.
A visit to the convent, besides seeing the colonial architecture, it will allow you to appreciate the wood work of the inhabitants of the municipality. In addition, in the museum, you will see sculptures and paintings from the 17th and 18th centuries.

 

Written by: Marta Arriola
Photos by: Sofia Letona
 Translated by: Melissa Schroden

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