El Palacio del Noble Ayuntamiento (The Palace of the City Council or Town Hall), located on the northern side of Antigua's Central Plaza, has maintained its original form since 1743, when it served as the town hall. The impressive two-level façade displays arches of solid rock and the Eastern wall of the building is one of the few that has been preserved with an overlay of cut rock. It's so solidly built tha even after three centuries of eartquakes no a lot of reconstruciton has had to be undertaken: the walls, more than one meter thick, and the vaulted stone facade are good examples of anti-seismic building techniques.
This 1743 structure was designed by Luis Diez de Navarro, Juan de Dios Aristondo, and Diego de Porras. Because of its magnificent building, in colonial times it was used as a prison. When the capital moved to Guatemala City following the 1773 earthquake the Ayuntamiento was abandoned, but was later restores in 1853.
Today it serves as the central office for municipal authorities and houses two museums: The "Museo de Armas de Santiago (Arms/Weapons Museum) - housed in the section of the building that was once the city jail and containing a collection of colonial artefacts, and the "Museo del Libro Antiguo" (Old Book Musuem) - in the rooms that held the first printing press in Central America. A replica of the press is on display, alongside some copies of the works produced on i -. From the upper floor of the Ayuntamiento there's a wonderful view of the Central Plaza, Metropolitan Cathedral, and the three volcanoes that surround the city - it's especially fine at sunset.
Location - How to get there? El palacio del Noble Ayuntamiento is located on the southern side of Antigua's Central Park, directly across from the Palace of the Captains-General. (see location map for directions)
Suitability: This attraction is a must add to your to do list. It is a great place for photographs and panoramic views of the volcanoes and the Central Park of Antigua or a nice sunset experience (just go up to the second level - it's Free!). It is also a great place to begin exploring the city. Visiting the Palace only takes about 10-15 minutes, unless you want to visit the "Museo de Armas de Santiago" and/or the "Old Book Museum" (housed in the same building), which may prolong your visit to 45minutes to one hour.
Contact: If you have any questions about this attraction or have special requirements (guided tours of Antigua or transportation services to Antigua) please contact Gofolklore. We will be delighted to assist you! You may also call the Antigua's municipality (Town Hall) at (502) 7720-7770.
Did you know? El Palacio del Ayuntamiento was restored in 1853 by mayor José María Palomo and Montufar, and has been preserved in excellent condition, so much so that this two-story building now houses Antigua's City Council.