Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Towards the South via the Civic Center

In my previous posts I forgot to mention that Guatemala City is divided in zones, number 1 is downtown and number 2 is where the relief map and Del Carmen Hill are. The area we are passing by today towards the south is mainly in the Zone 4. I would say that Guatemala City was conceived more than 200 years ago as a very well organized city, starting with Zone 1, the rest continue to develop around it as an spiral. Unfortunately, some parts of the city could seem now kind of chaotic due to the big demographic explosion in the past 30-40 years.
OK, enough rambling and back to our journey; as I was saying, today we are going to the south and in our way we will pass by the Civic Center, one of the busiest areas in the city since there are several buildings where governmental bureaus are established, among others: the City Hall, the Guatemala Bank (where you find the Numismatic Museum), the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Justice and the Courts. The Social Security Guatemalan Institute is another interesting building where you can appreciate original art by sculptor Roberto Gonzalez Goyri and painter Carlos Merida.
Also in this area is located the Miguel Angel Asturias Cultural Center, named after the Guatemalan Literature Nobel Laureate and designed by the architect Efrain Recinos. The center contains one big proscenium theater, one black box theater, and an outdoor amphitheater. The center includes various plazas and salons, as well as the National Marimba Institute.
Photo by, used with authorization

In this zone, we can visit 4 Grados Norte (literally: four degrees north), a pedestrian oasis with plenty of restaurants, cafes, and cultural activities. If by chance you decide to give this place a try, I would recommend you to start  by dining at La Matilde Restaurant, where you will enjoy contemporary Guatemalan cuisine (the best of Guatemalan traditional dishes with a modern twist) and after that, walk throughout the area, you will not regret it, this could be the perfect end for a good day!


  1. Ms. Ahumada, I just want to thank you for the wonderful idea you had in creating this beautiful site. I was born in Guatemala and had to relocate to the USA almost 27 years ago. I love the country "donde deje el ombligo" and I will die feeling the same way. I hope this will create a flow of visitors from all over the world so they know more about our beautiful country so our people there, can get the financial benefits of having more turists coming and learning about our rich culture and eco system.
    Thank you once again.

    Walter Trujillo
    Oxnard, Ca, 93036

  2. Dear Walter: Thank you very much for your comment. I really hope to honor Guatemala and our paisanos, and certainly plan to go back to rescue mi ombligo.


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