Comayagua

Overview

Introduction

Anyone driving from San Pedro Sula to Tegucigalpa should stop off for at least one night in Comayagua, where many of the colonial era streets and buildings recently completed a multiyear renovation. Founded in 1537, it was the capital of Honduras for more than 300 years but was heavily damaged by fire during a civil war in 1873. As a result, the capital was moved to Tegucigalpa, 52 mi/84 km away, in 1880.

There are four colonial-era churches in town, but the highlight is the Cathedral of Comayagua, one of the most impressive in Central America. Its clock has been continuously ticking since the 1500s and is believed to have been made by the Moors in Seville, Spain. (It was part of the Alhambra at Granada before being donated to Comayagua by Spain's King Philip II.) Arrangements can sometimes be made to climb up to the cathedral's bell tower to see the clock and a great view of this old, colonial town. The cathedral also contains religious artwork and an enormous gold-plated altar of carved wood. The government of Spain is funding a major renovation of the building.

Two museums in Comayagua are worth visiting. The Museum of Anthropology and History contains documentation on excavations, particularly on El Cajon Archaeological Project. The Museum of Colonial Religious Art displays religious artifacts said to be more than 3,000 years old, as well as gold and silver items from the 1500s-1700s, though it has been closed since a 2009 fire.

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