Antigua Guatemala Then and Now

These are overlays of the city of Antigua Guatemala, past and present.  The older images date from 1960 and came from my archive of old travel images.  The 2015 images were taken by me in February 2015.  I’ve tried to match the vantage points as best as possible.  Click the slider in the middle of the image and drag either way.


Tanque La Unión, 1960 and 2015:

This Antigua landmark does not appear to have changed much in the 55 years between photos.  Originally built in 1853, it’s used as a communal laundry area.  Note the difference in the height of the palm trees behind it!



Cathedral, 1960 and 2015:

The Cathedral de San Jose faces the main square.  It was consecrated in 1680 and heavily damaged in the earthquake of 1773.  In these photos, some restoration has happened, and the plantings around the square have changed.



Ruinas Convento y Iglesia de la Recolección, 1960 and 2015:

This massive church and complex dates from the early 1700s.  It was destroyed in 1773, and was not rebuilt.  You can visit and wander through the ruins.  It appears some of the wall in the background of the 1960 photo has collapsed, perhaps in the 1976 earthquake?



Ruinas Convento y Iglesia de la Recolección, 1960 and 2015:

As noted above, some walls seem to have fallen in the last 55 years.



Iglesia San Francisco, 1960 and 2015:

Inaugurated in 1702, this massive church and complex was heavily damaged in the 1773 earthquake.  From a roofless ruin in 1960 to a functioning church in 2015, I did not believe I was in the same place.  I showed the 1960 photo below to a man in the museum to make sure I really was in the right church.









Cemetery, 1960 and 2015:



Cemetery, 1960 and 2015:

I found it humorous that there was a ladder leaning against the church in 1960, and someone is carrying a ladder in front of the building in 2015.  Could it be the same ladder, and someone finally removed it?


What do you think of the changes over time?  Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

12 comments on “Antigua Guatemala Then and Now”

  1. Scott says:

    Hi Peter,

    Are these images supposed to be clickable, to see each photo in its entirety? If so, it’s not working for me.

    Nice work regardless, and love your other posts as well.


    1. Peter says:

      You should see a slider in the middle of the image, pulling it one way or the other with your mouse to view each image in its entirety. The slider may require javascript to be turned on. It seems to work fine in Chrome with no additional configuration.

      1. Scott says:

        Ah, thanks. I got it. Very nice! San Francisco el Grande is pretty spectacular, right?

        1. Peter says:

          It’s quite the place! I found a few other old images of it the other day, I may have to see if I can match them up with a new view as well.

  2. obelie says:

    very cool trick with the slider!!! Antigua is subject to frequent volcanic activity, making the architecture ever changing unfortunately…
    this just transported me back to Guatemala…thanks!

  3. J.R. Duren says:

    Great post! We’ve seen a lot of overlay photo slideshows and yours is one of the best. Ended up here as a result of a Lonely Planet post about the best posts of April….we weren’t disappointed!
    It’s amazing how, in some countries, time has little effect on the way things look.

  4. Martin P says:

    Really great post! I am sure you put a lot of work into it and it was really worth the effort. Its encouraging to see that many of the sites have been improved over the decades. The transformation of the Iglesia San Francisco is quite remarkable.

    1. Peter says:

      Thank you for the comment! It was a fun project, and I’m happy it turned out well and that others enjoy it. I do have a similar post about Guanajuato, Mexico, if you are interested at

  5. THIS WAS AWESOME! Loved every shot. Thank you.

  6. Barbara Diaz says:

    Beautiful post. I visited Antigua in 1967, while living in Solola. My guess is it’s the same ladder.
    Thank you so much for the updated views.

  7. Hannah says:

    Hi! I am archiving my great grandparents slides from Guatemala in 1952! I found your blog while googling Antigua ruins. I have many images of the same places you do! Quite remarkable to do the before and now side by side images. Thanks for your blog!

    1. Peter says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed them!

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