Santa Catalina Arch, Antigua

Santa Catalina Arch, Antigua (must see)

The Santa Catalina Arch is the most iconic landmark in Antigua Guatemala. Built in 1694 and located on 5th Avenue North, it originally connected the Santa Catalina Convent to a school on the other side of the street. At the time the cloistered nuns lived in the Santa Catalina Convent while they taught at the school during the day.

However there was a dilemma. The cloistered nuns had to avoid all contact with the outside world so they could not simply walk across a busy street to reach the school. To solve the problem, an arch above the street was built to connect the convent and the school. Within the arch there is a hidden passageway enabling the nuns to cross the street without being seen in public. It was an ingenious idea that worked perfectly!

The arch has suffered damage over the years, especially during the catastrophic earthquake of 1773. But miraculously, it has survived and it is now a symbol of the city’s resilience. A clock was added to the top of the arch in the era of the Central American Federation in the 1830s and it needs to be wound every three days.

Today, the Santa Catalina Arch is the most famous city monument and easily the most photographed.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Antigua. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Santa Catalina Arch on Map

Sight Name: Santa Catalina Arch
Sight Location: Antigua, Guatemala (See walking tours in Antigua)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Antigua, Guatemala

Create Your Own Walk in Antigua

Create Your Own Walk in Antigua

Creating your own self-guided walk in Antigua is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Antigua Introduction Walking Tour

Antigua Introduction Walking Tour

Antigua, Guatemala, which is sometimes known as La Antigua, dates back to 1543. This city was the third capital of the Spanish colony. Surrounded by volcanoes, the city of Antigua is a small yet very picturesque example of Spanish colonial architecture. Jesuit and Franciscan orders have had a presence in this region since the 17th century, contributing to its rich colonial religious life.

The...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.2 Km or 2 Miles
Antigua Museums

Antigua Museums

With a rich heritage combining Spanish colonialism and Mayan culture, Antigua is a fasinating place to visit in Latin America. Several museums in town are well worth exploring if you to learn more about the history of the country. Follow this self guided tour to visit the best museums in Antigua and get a history lesson along the way.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.5 Km or 0.9 Miles
Ancient Ruins of Antigua

Ancient Ruins of Antigua

It would appear as if the time machine has finally been invented in a place none other than Antigua. The glorious ancient city offers so much history beyond its streets and buildings, fountains and courtyards, that the great ruins are almost impossible to explore in a single day. Luckily, with this self-guided walk, you will get to select from the myriad vestiges set against the impressive...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.5 Km or 2.2 Miles
Parque Central Walking Tour

Parque Central Walking Tour

Parque Central is the center of social life for the residents in Antigua. What makes the park so popular for tourists is the opportunity to visit a good number of famous buildings around the park. Follow this self guided walk to explore the history behind the buildings at the very center of the city.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 0.3 Km or 0.2 Miles