Discover traces of Quetzaltenango’s colonial past on a visit to the Catedral del Espíritu Santo de Quetzaltenango (Quetzaltenango Cathedral). Marvel at the architectural talents of the Spanish colonists, see sacred icons and learn about religious legends. Catedral del Espíritu Santo de Quetzaltenango dates back to the 1530s, although much of today’s structure was built in the 1900s. The church stands on the southeast corner of popular Quetzaltenango Central Park.
A major highlight of the church is its well-preserved façade, commissioned by Francisco Marroquin, Guatemala’s first bishop. Look for the intricate Baroque sculptures and statues of religious figures. After sunset, bright lights elegantly illuminate the façade against the backdrop of the night sky.
Set behind the ancient façade is the church’s newer 20th-century section. Stroll around the exterior to see a series of domes, many adorned with arched windows and spires. Step inside to find a graceful nave and a sparkling checkerboard floor. Go to the chapel that houses an icon of Our Lady of the Rosary, the patron saint of Quetzaltenango. A legend states that the icon arrived in Quetzaltenango after an earthquake interrupted its pilgrimage from Antigua Guatemala to Nueva Guatemala de la Asuncíon (Guatemala City).
The Catedral del Espíritu Santo de Quetzaltenango is open daily and admission is free. As it’s an active place of worship you should dress appropriately and respect devotees when visiting. Photography is allowed inside the cathedral.
The cathedral sits in the heart of Quetzaltenango’s Centro Histórico (Historic Center) and is a short walk from other city attractions. The neoclassical-style Teatro Municipal is about 10 minutes away on foot. Public buses stop at Parque a Centro América (Quetzaltenango Central Park), the city’s liveliest park. Check out the park’s decorative gardens, fountains and collection of Ionic columns. Walk along Pasaje Enríquez to see an impressive Renaissance-style arcade.