Antigua Guatemala Cathedral
History and museums
Saint Joseph Cathedral (Spanish: Catedral de San José) is a Roman Catholic church in Antigua Guatemala, Guatemala. The original church was built around 1541, but suffered several earthquakes throughout its history, and the first church building was demolished in 1669. The cathedral was rebuilt and consecrated in 1680. By 1743 the cathedral was one of the largest in Central America. However, the devastating 1773 Guatemala earthquake seriously damaged much of the building, though the two towers at the front remained largely intact. These have undergone restoration work, and the cathedral has been partly rebuilt.
After the Santa Marta Earthquakes of 1773 that destroyed Santiago de los Caballeros de Guatemala, there was a large argument between Spanish and clerical authorities on whether to move the city to a new location . Against strong opposition of archbishop Pedro Cortés y Larraz, Captain General Martin de Mayorga decided to impose the move to its new location in the Ermita Valley; Cortés y Larraz was afraid that with the move the church had to begin from scratch and would lose part, if not all, of its power and influence. The cathedral moved to the new capital on 22 November 1779, but all the interior ornaments that had not been destroyed by the earthquake in the old building remained behind in what was now called Antigua Guatemala; in 1783 they were taken away from the frail ruins and stored in the old Universidad de San Carlos Borromeo building and in the El Sagrario Parish warehouse, which was also open the public in a section of the old cathedral.
In 1816, the gold from the old altars was removed and then used to create the ones for the Cathedral of Guatemala City which was now open to the public.