Restoration and Conservation in La Antigua Guatemala

Restoration is the process of repairing or renovating a building, work of art, vehicle, etc., so as to restore it to its original condition.

La Antigua Guatemala is steeped in architectural beauty despite earthquakes, fires, carelessness, damage by riots, abuses, etc. As well, beginning in the 14th century through the 20th century, architectural style and design was ever changing. As a result, alterations and adaptations to city structures were affected, too.

During the 19th century architectural “interventions” were carried out but point of fact, the work was cataloged as “restoration.”

Restoration and Conservation in La Antigua Guatemala

Photo by Andrea Tórtola

During the presidency of Jorge Ubico, 1934, Verle Linconln Annis arrived in Guatemala to study the architecture in La Antigua. Ambassador Boaz Walton Long requested Annis’ opinion in order to support conservation and restoration of the city’s monuments.

Annis was also invited by the University of San Carlos to give several talks which through time evolved into the publication of his book, “The Architecture of Antigua, Guatemala 1543-1773.” For this he received an honorary doctorate from the University of San Carlos. His book has served as a guide for almost countless students and architects in Guatemala, most especially those interested in conservation and restoration.

Other influential architects and experts including Federico Fahsen and Alfonso Yurrita have also been an inspiration to their peers and to students.

Perhaps with the growing interest in the architecture of La Antigua and other sites, a number of institutions were created to protect Guatemalan Heritage. In 1946 President Juan José Arévalo created IDAEH “Instituto de Antropología e Historia” as custodian of the Guatemalan heritage.

Restoration and Conservation in La Antigua Guatemala

Photo by David Rojas

Sidney David Markman, a noted art historian and expert on the colonial architecture of Central America, published a stunning photography book in 1966 titled “Colonial Arquitecture of La Antigua Guatemala,” These photographs provide a most interesting perspective on the architecture of La Antigua Guatemala.

On October 28, 1969 President Julio César Méndez Montenegro, created the “Ley Protectora de la Antigua Guatemala” (protective law for the city of La Antigua).

Restoration and Conservation in La Antigua Guatemala

Photo by Tatiana Golovkina

In 1997 the “Ley para la Protección del Patrimonio Cultural de la Nación” was established. Until that time protection had only been given to La Antigua. This law now included all of Guatemala’s heritage sites.

More about Arq. Verle Annis

More about Sidney David Markman visit:

Also Visit:

Reading material: Ley Protectora de La Antigua Guatemala (Spanish) ley-protectora

REVUE magazine article by Hadazul Cruz

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