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Guatemala

Guatemala, city (1994 est. pop. 823,301), S central Guatemala, capital of the republic. Its full name is La Nueva Guatemala de la Asunción. In a broad, fertile, highland valley, c.5,000 ft (1,520 m) high, it enjoys an equable climate the year round. It is the largest city in Central America, with a cosmopolitan atmosphere and many fine public buildings. It is served by international and local airways, railroads, and modern highways, and is the industrial, commercial, and financial center of the republic. To the city's markets come the fruits and vegetables of the tropical coasts and temperate highlands and also native handicrafts, especially textiles. Much of the produce is carried in from the countryside and sold in the market stalls. There is also a modern business section.

The present city is the fourth permanent capital of Guatemala; the capital was moved there after Antigua Guatemala was destroyed by earthquakes in 1773. An earthquake destroyed Guatemala City in 1917–18, but it was rebuilt on the same site. In 1976, another earthquake caused extensive damage to the city and its environs, resulting in more than 20,000 fatalities. The city is also near several volcanoes, the most active of which is Pacaya (8,373 ft/2,552 m high), some 15 mi (25 km) to the south. From the city excursions may be made to Antigua Guatemala and Ciudad Vieja, the third and second capitals. Many interesting remains of Mayan civilization have been unearthed in the vicinity of Guatemala City, notably at Lake Amatitlán. The Univ. of San Carlos de Guatemala (1676) is in the city, as are many other educational and cultural institutions.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Guatemalan Political Geography


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