Guatemala – Part 4

What I found on Google changed my approach to The Project. First, after reading about Antigua, I knew that Tom and I just had to go and spend at least one night there so we’d have a couple of days to explore it! Antigua is one of the most desirable tourist spots in Latin America

Founded by Spanish conquistadores in 1543, Antigua was the third capital of a vast region encompassing all of Central America and the southern most state of Mexico. The original capital was located in the northern area of present day Guatemala when Spaniard Pedro de Alvarado defeated the K’iche Mayan kingdom in 1524 having allied with the Mayan clan of Kaqchikel. De Alvarado was appointed governor of the region by Spain.

After overstaying his welcome (he IS kind of disagreeble looking), de Alvarado moved the capital 20+ miles away to the Al Molonga Valley in 1527, about 5 miles from where Antigua now sits. De Alvarado was killed in a battle in Mexico in July, 1541 and his wife, Beatriz de la Cueva, took over as governor. Unfortunately for Beatriz, a mudslide – caused by the nearby Volcán de Agua – destroyed her and the city on September 11, 1541.

So, once again, the capital was moved, this time, 5 miles to the north and Antigua (then named Ciudad de Santiago de los Caballeros) remained the capital for over 200 years. Many municipal and religious buildings were built. Due to 2 major earthquakes – the first in 1717 (7.4 magnitude), which virtually destroyed the city, and the second in 1773 (7.5 magnitude) – the Spanish Crown had the capital moved to where present day Guatemala City sits (about 22 ½ miles away). We will explore more of Antigua when I talk about our stay there in one of my next articles!

The second thing I learned, using Google, that helped chart my new course on The Project was that the textiles come in other forms beside yard goods. You can buy their hand woven fabrics as articles of clothing, runners, tablecloths, bedspreads or those kinds of things. Particularly, the articles of clothing were what I began to hone in on!

Picture from www.nimpot.com Ojo Cosmico 3o S.A.

Picture from http://www.nimpot.com
Ojo Cosmico 3o S.A.

Checking through the comments of seasoned travelers to Antigua, I learned about the specific places to go in order to find authentic, Guatemalan made items. There are a lot of “knock-offs” made in China and India that are sold in some of the open markets. What I was looking for was the real thing. Of course, you can (and should) pay a lot of money for authenticity. These weavings are works of art! According to the travelers, there were at least two places in Antigua – Nim P’ot and Colibri – that sold the real thing. Nim P’ot specifically specialized in used items, which sell for a lot less than brand new. So, off I went to Nim P’ot’s website and there I fell in love!

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