National Palace (Guatemala)

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A view of the National Palace from the Parque Central in Guatemala City.

Known as Palacio Nacional de la Cultura (National Palace of Culture), it is identified as Guatemala City's symbol in its monumental architectural context. It was the most important building in Guatemala and was the headquarters of the President of Guatemala. The building is the origin of all the roads in the Republic, and has a spot known as Kilometro Cero (Zero Kilometer). It is actually a museum and is also used for important acts of the government.


A view of the palace from its front courtyard

Since the beginning of Spanish colonization, a governmental seat was needed. In 1528, the first Government House was built in Santiago de Guatemala in the Valle de Almolonga.
Then in 1549, President Alonso López de Cerrato moved the Audiencia de los Confines, from Gracias a Dios in Nicaragua to Santiago de Guatemala.
and in 1761 the President Alonso Fernández de Heredia, began the construction of a new seat, under direction of Spanish Captain and engineer Luis Diez de Navarro.

In celebration of the first century of independence in 1919, President Manuel Estrada Cabrera, placed the first stone for a future palace next to the Plaza de la Constitución. The Italian architect Guido Albani was charged with designing the palace, but it never came to pass due to the collapse of the government soon thereafter. Two years later, in 1921, President Carlos Herrera with the Centenary very close ordered the Palacio del Centenario to be built in only three months time with a small budget and few resources. It became popularly known as the Palacio de Cartón (Carton Palace). However, in 1925 it was destroyed by a fire.

Then in 1927 President Lazaro Chacón declared a contest for the design of a new palace. The contest was won by the artist Agustín Iriarte, but this project again never came to be. Finally, in 1932, the President General Jorge Ubico, published the basis for the design and construction of the palace, and on July 4, 1937 the first stone was placed. The National Palace was built between January 1939 and 1943. On November 10 of that year the present-day Palace was opened.

The building resisted the earthquake of February 4 of 1976, of 7,5 Richter escale.

Coordinates: 14°38′34.59″N 90°30′47.62″W / 14.6429417°N 90.5132278°W / 14.6429417; -90.5132278