Antigua, the capital of the Captaincy-General of
Guatemala, was founded in the early 16th century. Built 1,500 m above
sea-level, in an earthquake-prone region, it was largely destroyed by an
earthquake in 1773 but its principal monuments are still preserved as
ruins. In the space of under three centuries the city, which was built
on a grid pattern inspired by the Italian Renaissance, acquired a number
of superb monuments.