Tegucigalpa

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Tegucigalpa
City
Tegucigalpa, Municipio del Distrito Central
Tegucigalpa Images Collage.jpg
Flag of Tegucigalpa
Flag
Official seal of Tegucigalpa
Seal
Nickname(s): Tegus,[1] Tepaz,[2] Cerro de Plata (Silver Mountain)[3]
Location of the Central District within the Department of Francisco Morazán
Location of the Central District within the Department of Francisco Morazán
Tegucigalpa is located in Honduras
Tegucigalpa
Tegucigalpa
Location of Tegucigalpa, M.D.C. in Honduras.
Coordinates: 14°6′N 87°13′W / 14.100°N 87.217°W / 14.100; -87.217
Country  Honduras
Department Francisco Morazán
Municipality Central District
Founded 29 September 1578; 435 years ago (1578-09-29)
Capital 30 October 1880; 133 years ago (1880-10-30)
Merged as Central District 30 January 1937; 77 years ago (1937-01-30)
Government
 • Type Mayor-Council
 • Body Municipal Corporation
 • Mayor Nasry Asfura (PNH)
 • Vice Mayor Juan García[4]
 • Aldermen
 • General Manager José Oswaldo Guillén
 • Municipal Secretary Cosette Lopez Osorio
Area
 • City 201.5 km2 (77.8 sq mi)
 • Central District 1,396.5 km2 (539.2 sq mi)
Elevation 990 m (3,250 ft)
Population (2010 estimate)
 • City 1,126,534
 • Density 5,604.6/km2 (14,516/sq mi)
 • Metro 1,324,000
 • Metro density 948.08/km2 (2,455.5/sq mi)
 • Demonym Spanish:tegucigalpense, comayagüelense, capitalino(a)
Time zone Central America (UTC-6)
Postal code Tegucigalpa: 11101,[5] Comayagüela: 12101[5]
Area code(s) (country) +504 (city) 2[6]
Annual budget (2008) 1.555 billion lempiras (US$82,190,000)
Website Government of Tegucigalpa

Tegucigalpa (Spanish pronunciation: [teɣusiˈɣalpa], formally Tegucigalpa, Municipality of the Central District Spanish: Tegucigalpa, Municipio del Distrito Central or Tegucigalpa, M.D.C.[3]), commonly referred to as Tegus,[1][7] is the capital of Honduras and seat of government of the Republic, along with its twin sister Comayagüela.[8]

Claimed on September 29, 1578 by the Spaniards,[9] it became the country's capital on October 30, 1880 under President Marco Aurelio Soto.[10] The current Constitution of Honduras, enacted in 1982, names the sister cities of Tegucigalpa[a] and Comayagüela[b] as a Central District[c] to serve as the permanent national capital, under articles 8 and 295.[11][12]

During the short-lived Constitution of the Republic of Central America of 1821, Tegucigalpa served as a Federal District and capital of then-newly formed as one nation: the states of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.[13] After this failed attempt to maintain a Central American republic, Honduras returned to become an individual sovereign nation and on January 30, 1937, Article 179 of the 1936 Honduran Constitution was reformed under Decree 53 to established Tegucigalpa and Comayagüela as a Central District.[14]

Tegucigalpa is located in the southern-central highland region of Honduras in the department of Francisco Morazán of which it is also the departmental capital.[15] It is situated in a valley, surrounded by mountains and both Tegucigalpa and Comayagüela, being sister cities, are physically separated by the Choluteca River.[16] The Central District is the largest of the 28 municipalities in the Francisco Morazán department.[17]

Tegucigalpa is Honduras' largest and most populous city as well as the nation's political and administrative center. Tegucigalpa is host to 25 foreign embassies and 16 consulates[18][19] in addition to being the home base of several state-owned entities such as ENEE and Hondutel, the national energy and telecommunications companies, respectively.[20] The city is also home to the country's most important university, the National Autonomous University of Honduras,[21] as well as the national soccer team.[22] The capital's international airport, Toncontín, is notorious around the world for its extremely short runway for an international airport and the unusual maneuvers pilots must undertake upon landing or taking off to avoid the nearby mountains.[23][24][25]

The Central District Mayor's Office (Alcaldia Municipal del Distrito Central) is the city's governing body,[26] headed by a mayor[27] and 10 aldermen forming the Municipal Corporation (Corporación Municipal).[28] Being the department's seat as well, the governor's office of Francisco Morazán is also located in the capital. In 2008, the city operated on an approved budget of 1.555 billion lempiras (US$82,189,029).[29] In 2009, the city government reported a revenue of 1.955 billion lempiras (US$103,512,220). (More than any other capital city in Central America, except Panama City)

Tegucigalpa's infrastructure has not kept with the population growth.[30] Deficient urban planning,[31] densely condensed urbanization, and poverty[32] are ongoing problems.[33] Heavily congested roadways where current road infrastructure is unable to efficiently handle the over 400,000 vehicles create havoc on a daily basis.[34] Both current national and local governments have taken approaches at improving or increasing infrastructure as well as to reducing poverty in the city.[35][36]

Etymology[edit]

Most sources indicate the origin and meaning of the word Tegucigalpa is derived from the Nahuatl language.[37] The most widely accepted version suggests that it comes from the Nahuatl word Taguz-galpa, which means "hills of silver", but this interpretation is uncertain since the natives who occupied the region at time were unaware of the existence of mineral deposits in the area.

Another source suggests that Tegucigalpa derives from another language in which it means painted rocks, as explained by Leticia Oyuela in her book "Minimum History of Tegucigalpa".[38] Other theories indicate it may derive from the term Togogalpa which refers to tototi (small green parrot, in Nahuatl) and Toncontín, a small town near Tegucigalpa (toncotín was a Mexican dance of Nahuatl origin).[39][40]

In Mexico, it is believed the word Tegucigalpa is from the Nahuatl word Tecuztlicallipan, meaning "place of residence of the noble" or Tecuhtzincalpan, meaning "place on the home of the beloved master".[41]

Honduran philologist Alberto de Jesús Membreño, in his book "Indigenous Toponymies of Central America", states that Tegucigalpa is a Nahuatl word meaning "in the homes of the sharp stones" and rules out the traditional meaning "hills of silver" arguing that Taguzgalpa was the name of the ancient eastern zone of Honduras.[42]

History[edit]

Los Dolores Church, built 1735

Tegucigalpa was founded by Spanish settlers as Real de Minas de San Miguel de Tegucigalpa on September 29, 1578 on the site of an existing native settlement of the Pech, Tolupans and the Twahkas.[43] The first mayor of Tegucigalpa was Juan de la Cueva, who took office in 1579.[44] The Dolores Church (1735), the San Miguel Cathedral (1765), the Casa de la Moneda (1780), and the Immaculate Conception Church (1788) were some of the first important buildings constructed.[45]

Almost 200 years later, on June 10, 1762, this mining town became Real Villa de San Miguel de Tegucigalpa y Heredia under the rule of Alonso Fernández de Heredia, then-acting governor of Honduras. The late 18th and early 19th centuries saw disruption in Tegucigalpa's local government, from being extinguished in 1788 to becoming part of Comayagua in 1791 to returning to self-city governance in 1817.[46]

In 1817, then-mayor Narciso Mallol started the construction of the first bridge, a ten-arch masonry, connecting both sides of the Choluteca River. Upon completion four years later, it linked Tegucigalpa with her neighbor city of Comayagüela.[47] In 1821, Tegucigalpa legally became a city.[48] In 1824, the first Congress of the Republic of Honduras, declared Tegucigalpa and Comayagua, then the two most important cities in the country, to alternate as capital of the country.[49]

After October 1838, following Honduras' independence as anud single Republic, the capital continued to switch back and forth between Tegucigalpa and Comayagua until October 30, 1880, when Tegucigalpa was declared the permanent capital of Honduras by then-president Marco Aurelio Soto.[10] A popular myth claims that the society of Comayagua, the long-time colonial capital of Honduras, publicly disliked the wife of President Soto, who took revenge by moving the capital to Tegucigalpa.[50] A more likely theory is that the change took place because President Soto was an important partner of the Rosario Mining Company, an American silver mining company, whose operations were based in San Juancito, close to Tegucigalpa, and he needed to be close to his personal interests.[51]

By 1898, it was decided that both Tegucigalpa and Comayagüela, being neighbor cities on the banks of the Choluteca River, would form the capital, but with separate names and separate local governments.[52] During this period, both cities had a population of about 40,000 people.

Basilica of the Virgin of Suyapa, built in 1954.
The Metropolitan Cathedral, built between 1765 and 1786.

Between the 1930s and 1960s, Tegucigalpa continued to grow reaching a population of over 250,000 people, giving way to what would become one of the biggest neighborhoods in the city, the Colonia Kennedy; the nation's autonomous university, the UNAH; and the construction of the Honduras Maya Hotel.[53] It still remained relatively small and provincial until the 1970s, when migration from the rural areas began in earnest. During the 1980s, several avenues, traffic overpasses, and large buildings were erected, a relative novelty to a city characterized until then by two-story buildings.[54] However, lacking the enforcement of city planning and zoning laws, it led to highly disorganized urbanization. This lack of proper urbanization as the population has grown is evident on the surrounding slopes of the several hills in the city where some of the city's most impoverished neighborhoods have prevailed.[55]

On October 30, 1998, Hurricane Mitch devastated the capital, along with the rest of Honduras.[56] For five days, Mitch pounded the country creating devastating landslides and floods, causing the death of thousands as well as heavy deforestation and the destruction of thousands of homes.[57] A portion of Comayagüela was destroyed along with several neighborhoods on both sides of the Honduran capital. After the hurricane, infrastructure in Tegucigalpa was severely severed. Even 12 years later, remnants of Hurricane Mitch are still visible specially along the banks of the Choluteca River.[58][59]

Today, Tegucigalpa continues to sprawl far beyond its former colonial core: towards the east, south and west, creating a large but disorganized metropolis. In an effort to modernize the capital, increase its infrastructure and improve the quality of life of its inhabittants, the current administration has passed several ordinances and projects to turn the city around within the upcoming years.[60]

Geography[edit]

NASA satellite image showing the Choluteca River splitting both Tegucigalpa and Comayagüela.
Satellite View of Tegucigalpa

Tegucigalpa is located on a chain of mountains at elevations of 935 metres (3,068 ft) on its lowest points and 1,463 metres (4,800 ft) on its highest suburban areas. Like most of the interior highlands of Honduras, the majority of Tegucigalpa's current area was occupied by open woodland. The area surrounding the city continues to be open woodland supporting pine forest interspersed with some oak, scrub, and grassy clearings as well as needle leaf evergreen and broadleaf deciduous forest.

The metropolitan area of both Tegucigalpa and Comayagüela cover a total area of 77.6 square miles (201 km2) while the entire Municipality of the Central District covers a total area of 539.1 square miles (1,396 km2).[61] Geological faults have been identified in the District's high regions surrounding the capital which are a threat to the neighborhoods on and below the hills.[62]

The Choluteca River, which runs crossing the city from south to north, physically separates Tegucigalpa and Comayagüela.[63] El Picacho Hill, a rugged mountain of moderate height convert rises above the downtown area; several neighborhoods, both upscale residential and lower income, are located on its slopes. The city consists of gentle hills, and the ring of mountains surrounding the city tends to trap pollution.[64] During the dry season, a dense cloud of smog lingers in the basin until the first rains fall.

Tucked in a valley and bisected by a river makes Tegucigalpa prone to flooding during the rainy season, as experienced to the fullest during Hurricane Mitch and to a lesser degree every year during the rainy season. Despite being several thousand feet above sea level, the city currently lacks an efficient flood control system, including canals and sewerage powerful enough to channel rain water back into the river to flow down to the ocean. The river itself is a threat since it isn't deep enough below the streets nor there are levies high enough to prevent it from breaking out.[65] There are currently more than 100 neighborhoods deemed zones of high risk, several of them ruled out as uninhabitable in their entirety.[55]

There is a reservoir, known as Embalse Los Laureles, west of the city providing 30 percent of the city's water supply as well as a water treatment plant south of the city about 7.3 kilometres (4.5 mi) from the airport; part of the Concepción Reservoir just 6 kilometres (3.7 mi) southwest of the water plant.[66]

The Central District shares borders with 13 other municipalities of Francisco Morazán:[17] (to the north) Cedros and Talanga; (south) Ojojona, Santa Ana, San Buenaventura and Maraita; (east) San Juan de Flores, Villa de San Francisco, Santa Lucía, Valle de Ángeles, San Antonio de Oriente, and Tatumbla; (and to the west) Lepaterique. It is also bordered on the west by two municipalities of the Comayagua Department, Villa de San Antonio[67] and Lamaní, with the latter exactly at the quadripoint where the Central District, Lepaterique, Villa de San Antonio and Lamaní all meet.

Climate[edit]

Teguicigalpa features a more moderate form of a tropical wet and dry climate. Of the major Central American cities, Tegucigalpa's climate is among the most pleasant due to its high altitude.[68] Like much of central Honduras, the city has a tropical climate, though tempered by the altitude—meaning less humid than the lower valleys and the coastal regions—with even temperatures averaging between 19 °C (66 °F) and 23 °C (73 °F) degrees.[69]

The months of December and January are coolest, with an average min/ low temperature of 14 °C (57 °F); whereas March and April—popularly associated with Holy Week's holidays—are hottest and temperatures can reach up to 40 °C (104 °F) degrees on the hottest day.[70] The dry season lasts from November through April and the rainy season from May through October.[71] There is an average of 107 rainy days in the year, June and September usually the wettest months.

The average sunshine hours per month during the year is 211.2 and the average rainy days per month is 8.9. The average sunshine hours during the dry season is 228 per month while 182.5 millimetres (7.19 in) is the average monthly precipitation during the wet season. The wettest months of the rainy season are May—June and September—October, averaging 16.2 rainy days during each of those periods.

Climate data for Tegucigalpa (Tegucigalpa Airport)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 25.7
(78.3)
27.4
(81.3)
29.5
(85.1)
30.2
(86.4)
30.2
(86.4)
28.6
(83.5)
27.8
(82)
28.5
(83.3)
28.5
(83.3)
27.3
(81.1)
26.0
(78.8)
25.4
(77.7)
27.9
(82.2)
Daily mean °C (°F) 19.5
(67.1)
20.4
(68.7)
22.1
(71.8)
23.4
(74.1)
23.6
(74.5)
22.6
(72.7)
22.1
(71.8)
22.4
(72.3)
22.2
(72)
21.5
(70.7)
20.4
(68.7)
19.7
(67.5)
21.7
(71.1)
Average low °C (°F) 14.3
(57.7)
14.5
(58.1)
15.5
(59.9)
17.1
(62.8)
18.2
(64.8)
18.2
(64.8)
18.0
(64.4)
18.0
(64.4)
17.9
(64.2)
17.6
(63.7)
16.3
(61.3)
15.0
(59)
16.7
(62.1)
Precipitation mm (inches) 5.3
(0.209)
4.7
(0.185)
9.9
(0.39)
42.9
(1.689)
143.5
(5.65)
158.7
(6.248)
82.3
(3.24)
88.5
(3.484)
177.2
(6.976)
108.9
(4.287)
39.9
(1.571)
9.9
(0.39)
871.7
(34.319)
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm) 1 1 1 2 9 12 9 9 13 10 4 2 73
Mean monthly sunshine hours 220.8 229.4 268.5 242.8 216.3 171.7 192.5 204.8 183.4 200.4 199.2 212.2 2,542
Source #1: World Meteorological Organization[72]
Source #2: NOAA (sun, 1961–1990)[73]

Hurricane Mitch[edit]

Aerial view of the capital after Hurricane Mitch, early November 1998.
Main article: Hurricane Mitch

Tegucigalpa, as with the rest of Honduras, experienced significant damage by Hurricane Mitch, something of a magnitude Hondurans had not witnessed since Hurricane Fifi. Mitch destroyed part of the Comayagüela section of the city, as well as other places along the banks of the Choluteca River. The storm remained over Honduran territory for five days, dumping heavy rainfall late in the rainy season. The ground was already saturated and could not absorb the heavy precipitation, while deforestation and debris left by the hurricane led to catastrophic flooding throughout widespread regions of the country, especially in Tegucigalpa.[74]

The heavy rain caused flash floods of Choluteca's tributaries, and the swollen river overflowed its banks, tearing down entire neighborhoods and bridges across the ravaged city. The rainfall also triggered massive landslides around El Berrinche Hill, close to the downtown area. These landslides destroyed most of the Soto neighborhood, and debris flowed into the river, forming a dam. The dam clogged the waters of the river and many of the low-lying areas of Comayagüela were submerged; historic buildings located along Calle Real were either completely destroyed or so badly damaged that repair was futile.[75]

Cityscape[edit]

Panoramic View of Tegucigalpa

Situated in a valley and surrounded by mountain ranges, Tegucigalpa is hilly with several elevations and few flat areas. The city is also highly disorganized, particularly around its oldest districts.[76][77][78] It has seen a rapid growth in the last 30 years[79] and only until recently has the government passed certain laws to establish city planning and zoning rules.[80] Surface roads can be narrow with the most important avenues carrying no more than two or three lanes running in each direction, adding to the problem of heavy traffic congestion. Several of the main boulevards have been equipped with interchanges, overpasses and underpasses, allowing for sections of controlled-access highways but considering that even the city's beltway does not entirely circle the city, the roads are generally limited-access. Intense webs of electrical and telephone lines above the streets are a common sight in the capital, and virtually in all Honduran cities, since implementation of underground utility lines has only been adopted in the recent years.

Around the city[edit]

Looking west towards the Juan A. Laínez Hill.
Downtown Tegucigalpa as viewed westward from the Honduras Maya Hotel.

The metropolitan area of Tegucigalpa and Comayagüela is officially divided into barrios and colonias and there are currently 892 of them. Colonias represent relatively recent 20th-century middle class residential suburbs, some known as residenciales for their upper income development, and these are continuously spreading while the barrios are old inner-city neighborhoods.

While the city administration divides the capital into barrios and colonias, the fact that there are hundreds of them, makes it difficult to define the city's different regions, especially for those not familiar with the Central District. To have a better understanding of the city's regions, the metro area of the Central District can essentially be divided, first, into two sections: Tegucigalpa and Comayagüela. These two entities remain separated by the Choluteca River basin that runs between them.

Map showing Tegucigapa's contemporary Center, formed by over 40 neighborhoods.

The Tegucigalpa side of the District can be divided into five sections: 1) Centro Histórico (Historic Downtown); 2) Centro Contemporáneo or Zona Viva (Contemporary Downtown or Vibrant Zone); 3) North Tegucigalpa; 4) South Tegucigalpa; and 5) East Tegucigalpa:

  • 1 - Centro Histórico or the Historic Downtown of Tegucigalpa is formed by the original neighborhoods that date back to its founding days. For years, this area remained neglected and rundown but in recent times, attempts have been made to revive the zone and bring back its colonial heritage. Several government offices, including the National Congress and City Hall as well as museums, parks, a cathedral and churches are located here.
  • 2 - Centro Contemporáneo is the contemporary, vibrant and modern downtown of Tegucigalpa. This area is formed by the neighborhoods encompassed east of the Choluteca River, south of the northern tributary, Rio Chiquito (which confluences with the Choluteca below the Mallol Bridge), west of the beltway (Anillo Periférico), and north of Armed Forces Blvd.
The Marriot Hotel as seen from John Paul II Blvd in Colonia Los Profesionales.

This section of the city is perhaps the best developed and properly urbanized. It is formed by more than 40 neighborhoods, many of them wealthy middle class residential areas such as Colonia Palmira to the east of the historic center, on Boulevard Morazán which hosts several foreign embassies as well as upscale restaurants. Other upscale neighborhoods are Lomas del Guijarro, Loma Linda and Lomas del Mayab which house most of the apartment complexes in the city.

The leading hotels of the city are found around these neighborhoods, including within the Plaza San Martín Hotel District. These include: Marriott Hotel, Clarion Hotel, Hotel El Centenario, Intercontinental, Honduras Maya, Plaza Del Libertador, Plaza San Martín, Hotel Alameda, Excelsior Hotel and Casino.[81][82]

Map showing the metropolitan area of the Central District dived into colored sections.

Boulevard Morazán and Avenida Los Próceres/Avenida La Paz are busy commercial corridors (running parallel of each other) and run through several neighborhoods home to foreign embassies, a hotel district, business establishments and corporate buildings; including Los Próceres Comercial Park (Parque Comercial). Boulevard Suyapa and Boulevard Juan Pablo II are located south of the aforementioned boulevards and they also form a busy commercial and financial district stretching through several neighborhoods such as Colonia Los Profesionales where the Presidencial House is located; Colonia Florencia Norte where Multiplaza Mall is located; Colonia Miramontes, among others—housing several financial institutions, government offices, hotels, etc.

  • 3 - North Tegucigalpa is formed by both middle class and impoverished neighborhoods that lie above the surrounding hill immediately north of the historic downtown. Beyond these neighborhoods sits the United Nations National Park on the El Picacho Hill, one of the most popular destinations in the capital among its residents and visitors. Pass beyond the Park, stretching north and northwest of the city, upper income suburban neighborhoods such as El Hatillo, sit on the sides of the hills, surrounded by heavy vegetation.
  • 4 - South Tegucigalpa is everything south of Boulevard Fuerzas Armadas. This area is home to Colonia Kennedy, the capital's largest neighborhood with more than 137,000 residents. South Tegucigalpa concentrates both middle class and poor neighborhoods. Two universities, UTH and UNITEC, are located just off the beltway in southern outskirt neighborhoods.
  • 5 - East Tegucigalpa concentrates mostly rural and impoverished neighborhoods, the result of improvised growth with little government funding and involvement. María Pediatric Hospital and the Basílica of Suyapa lie on the side of Anillo Períferico's eastern stretch.

Comayagüela[edit]

Comayagüela as viewed from Juan A. Laínez Hill with the Central Bank of Honduras Annex building in the center.

Comayagüela is found to the west bank of the Choluteca River and most of its urbanization is made up of lower income neighborhoods. Historically, Comayagüela has remained less developed than the other side of the capital, some citing insufficient contribution from public officials. In recent years, this western side of the capital has seen some growth and improvement such as the opening of Metromall near the airport. With the construction of Mall Premier and City Mall, the latter to become the largest mall in the country, Comayagüela will be receiving another upgrade. There are an estimated 650,000 residents in Comayagüela contributing 58.3 percent of the 120 million lempiras (US$6.349 million) generated every day by commerce in the Central District.

The Comayagüela side of the capital can be divided into four sections: 1) Zona Centro (Downtown Comayagüela); 2) North Comayagüela; 3) South Comayagüela; and 4) West Comayagüela:

  • 1 - Zona Centro de Comayagüela is the downtown area of Comayagüela and also original founding grounds formed by its oldest barrios. These barrios are formed in a grid street plan style. Several government offices are located in this district, including the Central Bank of Honduras Annex building and the Criminal Bureau of Investigation (Dirección General de Investigación Criminal) as well as the National School of Fine Arts housed in the former City Hall building of Comayagüela, built in 1845.
Looking northeast from Comayagüela at the construction site of the upcoming shopping mall City Mall.
  • 2 - North Comayagüela is formed by relatively recent post-Hurricane Mitch middle class residential developments that stretch onto the northern hills of Comayagüela, such as Colonia Cerro Grande, a continuously growing middle-class neighborhood on the northern outskirts.
  • 3 - South Comayagüela is by far the better-off region of Comayagüela. This area is found south and southwest of the airport, around Los Laureles Reservoir and south of Lepaterique Road (Carretera Lepaterique also known as Carretera al Batallón). Also a post-Hurricane Mitch area, it has grown in the last decade and includes some of Comayagüela's upper income communities that have erupted in the area and continues to spread out as newer suburban middle class developments are built. Toncontín International, Metro Mall and City Mall are located in this area. Residencial la Arboleda and Residencial los Hidalgos are some of the growing upper income developments in the southern outskirts of Comayagüela.
  • 4 - West Comayagüela is mostly impoverished neighborhoods spreading away from Zona Centro onto the surrounding slopes. Many of these neighborhoods came to be through improvised urbanization and lack proper infrastructure. This area prevails north of Lepaterique Road and westward of Boulevard de la Comunidad Europea (European Community Blvd).

Demographics[edit]

Despite the Central District's significant size, the urban area of Tegucigalpa-Comayagüela of 1.2 million is compacted in a small area.
Historical population
Year Pop.   ±%  
1791 5,431 —    
1801 6,547 +20.5%
1881 17,309 +164.4%
1887 17,647 +2.0%
1895 17,300 −2.0%
1901 24,000 +38.7%
1961 164,941 +587.3%
1974 302,483 +83.4%
1988 595,931 +97.0%
2001 850,445 +42.7%
2004 874,515 +2.8%
2006 920,366 +5.2%
2010 1,126,534 +22.4%
2011 1,187,363 +5.4%
source:[83][84][85]

As of 2011, following the trend of population growth between 1988 and 2001 of 2.79 percent, the population of Tegucigalpa is estimated anywhere between 1.2 and 1.3 million people.[86]

The 2010 Population Projections estimated that the Central District had a population of 1,126,534 residents,[87] continuing a trend of population growth in the city since the 2001 Census, which recorded 850,445 residents.[88]

In 2004, there were 185,577 households with an average of 4.9 members per household.[89] Both the city's population and metro area are expected to double by 2029.[90]

The Human Development Index (HDI) is the highest in the country measured at 0.759 in 2006. During the same year, 47.6 percent of the Central District's population lived in poverty—29.7 lived in moderate poverty and 17.9 in extreme poverty. Life expectancy in the District as of 2004 is 72.1 years. By 2010, 4.9 percent of the population remained illiterate, compared to the national rate of 15.2 percent.[91]

In 2010, the average monthly income was L.8,321 (US$440.49), compared to the total national average of L.4,767 (US$252.35) and the national urban zone average of L.7,101 (US$375.91).[92][93]

The ethnic and racial makeup of Tegucigalpa is strongly tied to the rest of Honduras.[94] 90 percent of the city-dwellers are predominantly mestizos with a small White-Hispanic minority. They are joined by Chinese[95] and Arab immigrants,[96] the latter mostly from Palestine.[97] There are indigenous Amerindians and Afro-Honduran people as well.

Tegucigalpa by numbers:[98] 4 theaters, 12 marketplaces, 12 pedestrian bridges, 12 universities, 14 hospitals, 14 museums, 28 supermarkets, 40 movie screens, 64 health centers, 64 signal light-controlled intersections, 87 middle school and high schools, 100 pharmacies, 123 local emergency committees, 170 restaurants, 200 parks or plazas, 200 sports facilities, 400 firemen, 600 volunteer workers, 892 neighborhoods classified as barrios and colonias, 12 hundred physicians, two thousand public transportation vehicles, 12 thousands taxis, 60 thousand unable to read or write, and 140 thousand with direct access to potable water only.

Central District age distribution
Source:[61]
Ages Male % Female % Ages Male % Female %
80+ 0.4 0.5 35-39 2.9 3.4
75–79 0.3 0.4 30-34 3.4 3.8
70–74 0.4 0.5 25-29 3.9 4.4
65–70 0.5 0.7 20-24 5.1 5.9
60–64 0.8 0.9 15-19 5.5 6.2
55–60 1.0 1.1 10-14 5.7 5.7
50–54 1.5 1.6 5-9 5.9 5.7
45–49 1.9 2.1 0-4 5.8 5.5
40–45 2.6 2.9      

Health[edit]

In 2004, there were 67 public health care establishments in the Central District—five national hospitals, 22 health centers in the metropolitan area, 37 health centers throughout the rural areas, and three peripheral clinics. There are several private hospitals in the city as well as hospitals run by the Honduran Social Security Institute (IHSS), the country's government-sponsored social insurance program.

In 2003, only 58.5 percent of the employed population contributed to IHSS while the rest who remain uninsured were attributed to being employed in the informal sector or being domestic workers. Overall, only 26.5 percent of the Central District's population is covered by public health care.

The Central District reports the third highest or 20.2 percent of the country's HIV/AIDS incidents with 5,674 living with the virus. During 2004, there were 258 new diagnoses of HIV infection in the Central District.

In 2000, the maternal mortality rate in the city was 110 of every 100,000 births of which 62.3 percent were women ages 20 to 35. In 2001, the infant mortality rate was 29 per 1000 live births (Both maternal and infant mortality rates are based on local and out-of-district residents who arrive to receive medical attention). In 2005, it was estimated that 101 of every 10,000 residents suffered of a physical or mental disability.

Religion[edit]

As with the rest of Honduras, Roman Catholicism is the dominating religion in the Central District and while at some point they made up as much as 95 percent of the population, contemporary estimates as recent as 2007 put them at 47 percent while Protestants make up as much as 36 percent. Their history in Tegucigalpa began around 1548 with the Spanish setting up Mercedarian missionaries as part of their conversion efforts of the native communities. By 1916, the Diocese of Comayagua was relocated and renamed the Diocese of Tegucigalpa, and it was elevated to Archdiocese under Archbishop Santiago María Martínez y Cabanas (1842–1921).[99]

Other religious groups made their way at the beginning of the 20th century including the Quakers, who in 1914 began work in the nation’s capital. In 1946, missionaries of the Southern Baptist Convention first arrived in Tegucigalpa and in the 1950s, the National Convention of Baptist Churches and the Eastern Mennonite Board of Missions followed.[99]

Central District crime indicators*
2007 2008 2009
Homicide rate 58.1 60.6 71.8
Intentional homicides 621 654 792
Unintentional homicides 93 100 151
Male victim ratio 89.7% 91% 91%
Top victim age group (15-39) 68.9% 65.5% 73.2%
Firearm involvement 80% 81% 85.6%
Organized crime involvement 14.2% 26.3% 39%
Sexual assaults 577 521 647
Crimes against person 3,791 3,746 4,471
Crimes against property 659 3,406 7,863
Suicides 72 64 69
Top suicide age group (15-39) 48.6% 35.9% 47.8%
Vehicle-related deaths 222 235 246
*Data based on crimes reported to authorities. Source:[100][101][102]

The Assembly of God missionaries entered Honduras in the late 1940s and today maintain a mega-church in Tegucigalpa with more than 10,000 members. The Church of God of Cleveland, Tennessee established in Tegucigalpa in 1951, the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel followed in 1952, and by the late 1950s, the Evangelical Alliance of Honduras was established. The Prince of Peace Pentecostal Church, founded in Guatemala City, began its ministry in Honduras during the 1960s. During the 1970s, the Catholic Charismatic Renewal Movement began to grow among the upper classes in Tegucigalpa.[99]

The Christian Love Brigade Association arrived in Tegucigalpa in 1971, the Abundant Life Christian Church was founded in 1972, the Cenacle Christian Center of Charismatic Renewal began in 1978 and the Living Love Groups started in 1978.[99]

The Presbyterian Church in Honduras member churches are mainly concentrated mainly within 150 km (93 mi) in Tegucigalpa. The first Presbyterian congregation was planted in 50 years ago, by the National Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Guatemala.[103]

Today, they are many religious groups in Tegucigalpa including a Jewish community, the Jehovah's Witnesses and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that is currently building a new temple in the city.[99]

Crime and violence[edit]

Honduras has the world's highest murder rate.[104] Honduras has been experiencing record-high violence in recent years. In 2010, the homicide rate in Francisco Morazán was 83.2 (per 100,000 inhabitants) compared to the national average of 86.[105]

In 2009, the Central District reached a homicide rate of 72.7 with authorities recording 792 intentional homicides and 151 involuntary homicides; this averaged to 66 murders per month or two per day. 85.6 percent of the deaths were committed by firearm and 39 percent were linked to organized crime. 91 percent of the victims were men and 81.2 were ages 15 to 39. The neighborhoods reporting the highest incidents of violent deaths are Barrio Concepción, Colonia Nueva Capital, Colonia Villa Nueva Norte, Colonia Cerro Grande, Colonia El Carrizal No. 1, Colonia el Carrizal No. 2, Colonia Flor Del Campo, Colonia La Sosa, Colonia Las Brisas, and Barrio Centro de Comayagüela.[102]

In 2009, there were 246 motor vehicle-related deaths of which 52 percent were pedestrians, including bicyclists; 39 percent were caused by private vehicle and 12 percent by public transportation vehicle. In the same year, there were 69 deaths reported as suicides of which were most common in the age bracket of 20 to 29 and 30 to 35, while 76.9 percent of them were men.[102]

Economy[edit]

Sky Residence Club, the tallest building in the city, standing at 318 feet (97 meters) in the Lomas del Mayab neighborhood.
HSBC main offices on Suyapa Blvd (former BGA bank building).

The Central District has an economy equal to 19.3 percent of country's GDP. In 2009, the city's revenue and expenditures budget was of L.2,856,439,263 (US$151,214,182)[106] while in 2010 it was of L.2,366,993,208 (US$125.204.606)[107][108] 57.9 percent or L.43.860 billion (US$2.318 billion) of the country's national budget is spent within the Central District.[109]

The District's active labor force is of 367,844 people of which 56,035 are employed in the public sector. In 2009, the unemployment rate in Tegucigalpa was 8.1 percent.[110] and an unemployed person may spend as much as four months seeking employment.[111] There are 32,665 business establishments throughout the capital, the most of any city in the country. The size of these businesses is broken down as follow: micro-enterprises (73.2%), small businesses (9.63%), medium-sized businesses (7.47%), large companies (0.28%), and the remainder unreported (9.62%).

The city's major economic sources are commerce, construction, services, textiles, sugar, and tobacco.[112] Economic activity is broken down as follow: commerce—including wholesale, retail, auto repair, household goods (42.86%); manufacturing industry (16.13%), hospitality—hotels and restaurants (14.43%), banking and real state (10.12%), social and personal services (8.94%), health-related services (3.90%), and others (3.60%).[113]

The industrial production taking place in the region include textiles, clothing, sugar, cigarettes, lumber, plywood, paper, ceramics, cement, glass, metalwork, plastics, chemicals, tires, electrical appliances, and farm machinery. Maquiladora duty-free assembly plants have been established in an industrial park in the Amarateca valley, on the northern highway.[114] Silver, lead and zinc are still mined in the outskirts of the city.[115]

Banking[edit]

Alfonso XIII, a condo high-rise in one the city's upper income communities, Lomas del Guijarro.
Nissan car dealership on Central America Blvd across the street from Plaza Miraflores Mall.

Honduran banks based in Tegucigalpa include Banco Atlántida (Bancatlan), Banco Continental, Banco Financiera Centroaméricana (Ficensa), Banco Financiera Comercial Hondureña (Ficohsa), Banco Hondureño del Café (Banchcafe), Banco Hondureño para la Producción y la Vivienda (Banhprovi), Banco de Occidente, Banco del País, Banco de los Trabajadores, the Central Bank of Honduras, the country's central banking public institution and Banco Nacional de Desarrollo Agrícola (Banadesa), also state-owned, with central offices located in Comayagüela.

International financial institutions in Tegucigalpa include Banco de América Central-BAC Honduras (former Banco Mercantil-BAMER), Banco Lafise (Latin American Financial Services), Citibank, Davivienda, the Inter-American Development Bank (IAB), the World Bank, and the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (BCIE), with its headquarters located in Colonia Miramontes on Boulevard Suyapa.[116]

Foreign investment[edit]

Manufacturing assembly plants (maquiladoras) were introduced in Honduras in 1976.[117] While their contribution to the economy remained small, they boomed at the beginning of the 1990s, mostly concentrating in northern Honduras but after the mid-1990s they were expanded to the central region, including Tegucigalpa. By 2005, at least 6 maquiladoras operated in the Central District.[118]

By the end of the 1990s and early 2000s (decade), Tegucigalpa continued to be a focus city for the development of industrial parks. The main obstacle to establish factories in Tegucigalpa has been facilitating infrastructure to provide efficient access between the capital and country's economic hubs: San Pedro Sula and Puerto Cortez.[119]

While foreign investment manufacturers and exporters have focused in northern Honduras, the presence of multinational corporations is evident in Tegucigalpa. Popular retail, restaurant, and hospitality American-branded franchises prevail throughout the Honduran capital; such as Walmart, McDonalds, Marriot, among others. Companies from other countries such as Mexico, have also made their presence with arrivals like Cinépolis movie theaters, which opened in 2010 in Cascadas Mall.[120] Foreign real estate and property developers operate in the capital District as well, such as Grupo Roble of the Multiplaza malls.

Tegucigalpa's economic challenges are tied to those of the rest of the country, such as overcoming crime, anomalies in the judicial system, educational backwardness, and deficient infrastructure in order to continue to encourage foreign investors and permit growth of local entrepreneurs.[121]

Government[edit]

As capital of Honduras, as department head and as a municipality, the Central District seats three separate governments: national, departmental and municipal.[122] Prior to 1991, the central government held great jurisdiction over the execution of city management across the country, leading to uneven representation and improper distribution of resources and governance.[123] As a result, in late 1990, under Decree 134-90, the National Congress of Honduras enacted the Law of Municipalities (Ley de Municipalidades), defining the country's department and municipal institutions, representatives and their functions to give city government autonomy and decentralize it from the national government.[124]

While autonomous, the Central District is still influenced by the national government given the territory remains seat of government of the republic. Major changes in public policy and funding of major city projects usually reach the Office of the President prior to approval by the District's local government.[125]

Central District[edit]

"Welcome to the Central District: Tegucigalpa and Comayagüela" sign at the municipality's limit line.

Legally and politically speaking, the capital of Honduras is the Municipality of the Central District (DC for short), and Tegucigalpa and Comayagüela are two entities within the district. However, nearly all governmental institutions are on the Tegucigalpa side, so for all practical purposes Tegucigalpa is the capital.[8] Traditionally, they are regarded as twin or sister cities in part because they were originally founded as two distinct cities.[126] When the Central District was formed on January 30, 1937 under Decree 53 of reformed Article 179 of the 1936 Honduran Constitution, both cities became one political entity sharing the title of Capital of Honduras.[14]

The current Constitution of Honduras, under Chapter 1, Article 8, states (translated), "The cities of Tegucigalpa and Comayagüela, jointly, constitute the Capital of the Republic."[11] Furthermore... Chapter 11, Article 295, states (translated) "The Central District consists of a single municipality made up of the former municipalities of Tegucigalpa and Comayagüela";[12] however, municipalities in Honduras are defined as political entities similar to counties, and they may contain one or more cities. For example, in the Department of Atlántida, La Ceiba is the largest city—being also the third largest in Honduras—both in terms of population and metropolitan area;[127] however, Tela, one of the eight municipalities of Atlántida, is the biggest municipality in terms of physical administrative area in that department.[128] Since the Municipality of Tela is not considered the entire city of Tela, it is not bigger than La Ceiba.

There are an additional of 41 villages and 293 hamlets through the Central District Municipality.[61] These may be assigned deputy mayors (alcalde auxiliar) to serve as local representatives.

National and departmental governments[edit]

The National Institute of Statistics (INE) and the Attorney General's office (Ministerio Público) in Residencial Lomas del Guijarro.
United States Embassy on Laz Paz Avenue.

Tegucigalpa is the political and administrative center of Honduras.[129] It is also the seat of government of the Francisco Morazán department.[130] All three branches of the national government as well as their immediate divisions—including the 16 departments of the Executive Branch,[131] the National Congress,[132] the Supreme Court of Justice,[133] the Armed Forces and National Police headquarters—are located in the city. Most public agencies and state-owned companies are headquartered in the capital as well.[20]

Local government[edit]

City government takes form in a mayor-council system and is regulated under the Law of Municipalities which came into effect on January 1, 1991. The Central District Municipal Government (Alcaldía Municipal del Distrito Central or AMDC) is the city's governing authority. As established by current city governing law, AMDC is structured as a municipal corporation, which is the deliberative-legislative body, voter-elected, and highest authority within the municipality.[134]

The Municipal Corporation is formed by a mayor serving as chief executive, general administrator and legal representative of the municipality[135] and a vice mayor to serve as acting mayor when required and to oversee functions within AMDC as instructed by the mayor.[136]

Ten aldermen (regidores) are also members of the Municipal Corporation who along with the mayor execute the duties as described in the Law of Municipalities, including management, budgeting, and local law and ordinance legislation.[137]

A general manager, appointed by the mayor, is to served as chief comptroller to keep management of city funds and their allocation. A municipal secretary, also appointed by the mayor, serves as the city clerk in charge of keeping record of all official proceedings. The Municipal Corporation also counts with a Municipal Development Council (Consejo de Desarrollo Municipal) which serves as an advising cabinet on all the areas of issues of the city such as human development, public safety, utilities, etc.[138]

Current administration[edit]

Government Civic Center housing the Supreme Court of Justice and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The current mayor of the Central District is Nasry Asfura (PNH)[139] who is serving his first term (2014–2018) after winning election in 2013.[140] He is the eight person to serve as mayor of the Central District since local elections were restored in 1986, (prior to 1986, the Central District local government, known as Consejo Metropolitano (Metropolitan Council), was appointed by the President); and this is the ninth elected mayoral term since then and the fourth consecutive elected Mayor from the National Party .

Of the 10 aldermen currently serving, seven are men and three are women. Five belong to the National Party while another two belong to Libertad y Refundación; two aldermen belong to the Liberal Party and the other is from the Anti-Corruption Party.

Both the city mayor and aldermen are elected to 4-year terms by voters of the Central District. Removal of the mayor or any alderman for any cause is reserved to the Ministry of Interior and Population (Secretaría del Interior y Población), formerly Secretaría de Gobernación y Justicia.[141]

Law enforcement[edit]

Law enforcement in the city is the responsibility of the National Police of Honduras, the nationwide police force.[142][143] The National Police maintains its headquarters in the Central District in Colonia Casamata. The Metropolitan Police Headquarters No. 1 (Jefatura Metropolitana No. 1) is the police department in charge of law and order in the city. It operates seven police districts throughout the metropolitan area. These are Police District 1-1 El Edén, Police District 1-2 El Mandén, Police District 1-3 San Miguel, Police District 1-4 Kennedy, Police District 1-5 El Belén, Police District 1-6 La Granja and Police District 1-7 San Francisco. For 2011, the Secretary of Security designated L.2.162 billion (US$114.283 million) to law enforcement and criminal investigation in the Central District.

As established by the Law on Police and Social Coexistence (Ley de Policía y Convivencia Social), municipalities can fund their own municipal police (Policía Municipal) and the Central District currently operates a Municipal Police force of 160 officers. The Municipal Department of Justice (Departamento Municipal de Justicia) through its Municipal Police Court (Juzgado de Policía Municipal) enforces and prosecutes local law offenses.

The Public Ministry (Ministerio Público) is the district attorney with nationwide jurisdiction in charge of prosecuting crimes on behalf of the people. It is also headquartered in the Central District and maintains regional prosecution offices throughout the country. The Attorney General of the Republic (Procuraduría General de la República) is the country's chief legal representative and prosecutes crimes on behalf of the state.[144]

Culture[edit]

United Nations National Park on El Picacho Hill north of Tegucigalpa.

Tegucigalpa is a colonial city with a history spanning for more than 400 years. According to the National Chamber of Tourism of Honduras (CANATURH), the city is visited by at least 250,000 tourists every summer.[145] For Easter 2011, at least 300,000 visitors arrived to the city.[146]

Colorful Sawdust carpets being prepared in the streets before the Easter Week religious processions through downtown Tegucigalpa.

The Fair of the Capital (Feria de la Capital or Feria capitalina) is a celebration happening every year in the month of September to commemorate the city's anniversary. Several festivities occur during this time including book fairs, art expositions, concerts and a parade. The 2010 Fair was suspended due to heavy rain and flooding in the region.[147] For 2011, the fair was scheduled to run from September 26 until October 13.[148] Another yearly event is the Fair of the Horse and Culture (Feria del Caballo y la Cultura) taking place in the month of November. There is also a Christmas Fair in the month of December.

Parks and landmarks[edit]

Statue of Francisco Morazán in Central Park.
Monument of the Absent Soldier in Comayagüela on Anillo Periférico at the Military Hospital exit.

Some of the parks in the city include Parque La Leona, Parque Herrera, Parque Del Soldado, Parque Juan A. Lainez, Plaza España, Plaza del Libertador, and Central Park, the latter located in the heart of the historic center which leads to Paseo Liquidambar, a pedestrian zone street.[149] La Tigra National Park lies several kilometers north of the city and covers an area of 93.9 square miles (243 km2). The United Nations National Park on El Picacho Hill just north above the city offers a great view of the city and hosts the Picacho Metropolitan Zoo.

Some of the popular landmarks include the Metropolitan Cathedral, the former Presidential Palace (now a museum), the National University, the Basilica of the Virgin of Suyapa, La Merced Church, and the Manuel Bonilla Theater.[150]

There are several charming colonial villages within easy driving distance from Tegucigalpa: Santa Lucia (12 km or 7 mi away), Valle de Angeles (21 km or 13 mi away), Ojojona, Yuscarán and San Juancito. Each has its own distinct character and sense of history and all of them make easy day-trips out of the city.

Media[edit]

Tegucigalpa is home to two of the nation's four most important newspapers:[151][152] La Tribuna, the liberal and leading newspaper in the city[153] and El Heraldo, the more conservative.[154] There are three other daily papers printed in the city: El Libertador, El Patriota, and Tiempos del Mundo. Hondudiario, Proceso Digital, and Honduras Weekly are online-only newspapers based in the capital, the latter offered in English. La Gaceta is the Honduran government's official newspaper, printed and published in the capital.[155]

Tegucigalpa is also served by the rest of country's newspapers, including La Prensa and El Tiempo from San Pedro Sula[156] and the sports newspaper and fashion magazine, Diez[157] and Estilo, respectively; divisions of La Prensa. Voz el Soberano and Revistazo are political watchdog online publishers.[158]

There are currently eight channels broadcasting on VHF (3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 13) and 12 channels on UHF (21, 30, 33, 36, 39, 45, 48, 51, 54, 57, 66, 69) in the Central District region from TV networks of the major cities in the country. Cable Color, based in Tegucigalpa, is one of the major cable TV providers in the country.[159]

There are five television networks based in Tegucigalpa: Televicentro Corporation, the largest television media conglomerate in the country which operates three television networks: Compañia Televisora Hondureña (Channel 5), Telesistema Hondureño (channels 3 & 7) and Telecadena 7 & 4 (Channel 7).[160] The other four networks are Channel 11[161] owned by Grupo Continental & R. Media;[162] Televisión Educativa National-TEN (Channel 10), a public broadcasting network[163] featuring the Telenoticiero Abriendo Brecha[164] newscast; Maya TV (Channel 66),[165] and Telered 21 which has its principal offices in San Pedro Sula.

There are 24 FM radio stations and 28 AM stations transmitting into or from Tegucigalpa.[166][167] Emisoras Unidas,[168] the largest radio conglomerate in the country, is headquartered in Tegucigalpa and operates 94-SU 94.1 FM, Rock N' Pop 92.3 FM, Vox 101.9 FM, Suave 102.5 FM, Sterio Éxitos 88.1 FM, Radio Satélite 790 AM, XY Honduras 90.5 FM, Radio HRN 92.9 FM.[169]

The following radio stations are based in Tegucigalpa: 88.7 Radio Globo Honduras,[170] 91.1 Radio Kairos, 91.7 Estereo La Buenisima, 93.5 Radio Cadena Voces,[171] 94.7 Radio America,[172] 95.9 Radio Panamericana, 97.1 La 97 FM Radio, 97.7 Stereo Azul, 100.1 Super 100 Estereo, 101.3 Radio Nacional de Honduras, 103.1 Tu Alternativa, 103.7 Stereo Luz,[173] 104.3 Momentos FM Estereo, 104.9 Estereo Amor,[174][175] 106.7 Radio CHN-Cadena Hondureña de Noticias, and 107.3 W-107 Radio del Flow.

Museums[edit]

Courtyard in the Chiminike children's museum located off Armed Forces Blvd in the Government Civic Center complex.

There are 14 museums in Tegucigalpa. Most of the popular museums are located around historic center of the city. These include the National Identity Museum (Museo para la Identidad Nacional), founded in 2006; the National Anthropology and History Museum or Villa Roy National Museum (Museo Nacional de Antropología e Historia-Museo Nacional Villa Roy), founded in 1976 on the former residence of President Julio Lozano Díaz (1954–1956) and reopened after a complete restoration in 1997;[176] the National Art Gallery (Galería de Arte Nacional), founded in 1996;[177] the Republic History Museum (Museo Histórico de la República), founded in 1993;[178] the Museum of Man (Museo del Hombre), founded in 1989,[178] the Telecommuncations Museum (Museo de las Comunicaciones), founded in 1985; the Military History Museum (Museo Histórico Militar), founded in 1983;[178] and the Archaeological Museum (Museo Arqueológico).

The Natural History Museum (Museo de la Historia Natural) is located within the National Autonomous University of Honduras.[179] The Numismatic Museum (Museo Nimismático Rigoberto Rojas) was founded in 1993 and is located in Comayagüela next to the Central Bank of Honduras Annex building.[180] There is a children's museum, (Centro Interactivo de Enseñanza CHIMINIKE), founded in 2003, located on Blvd. Fuerzas Armadas within the Government Civic Center complex, which also houses the Foreign Affairs Ministry and the Supreme Court of Justice.

North entrance of Multiplaza Mall as seen from the parking lot.

Other places of cultural interest are the Colonial Museum (Museo Colonial) located in Casa Cural, the Cultural Center of Spain in Tegucigalpa - CCET, founded in 2007; and Sala Bancatlán, located in Plaza Bancatlán of Banco Atlántida.[178] The Honduran Institute of Anthropology and History, founded in 1952, promotes cultural heritage and manages several museums throughout Honduras.[181] There is an art and history museum, Santa María de los Ángeles, in Valle de Ángeles, 27 km or 17 mi northwest of Tegucigalpa.[182]

Cuisine[edit]

There is a variety of restaurants of different cuisine styles and origin in Tegucigalpa. Locals and visitors alike can enjoy several restaurants serving traditional Honduran dishes as well, either from a typical streetside vendor or family restaurant to upscale food establishments.[183]

Shopping centers[edit]

MetroMall in Comayagüela on Armed Forces Blvd just north of Toncontín International.
Ongoing construction of City Mall across the road from Toncontín International Airport.

The centre of shopping in Tegucigalpa is Multiplaza, a multi-level indoor shopping mall that includes design name stores, a major grocery store, a movie theater complex, restaurants, and banking. This mall is located on John Paul II Blvd, forming one of the busiest commercial districts in the capital around the John Paul II Blvd and Suyapa Blvd corridors (running parallel to each other) and Central America Blvd (crosswise). Other busy corridors are the Francisco Morazán Blvd and Los Próceres Ave/La Paz Ave to the north of the city.

Shopping malls of considerable size in Tegucigalpa include:

  • City Mall (Opening 2012)
  • Multiplaza
  • Mall El Dorado
  • Mall Las Cascadas
  • Mall Premier (Opening 2012)
  • Metromall
  • Paseo Los Castaños
  • Paseo Los Próceres
  • Plaza America
  • Plaza Millenium
  • Plaza Miraflores
  • Plaza Nova

Tegucigalpa will be home of the largest shopping mall in Central America after the opening of City Mall in early 2012.[184][185][186]

Sports[edit]

Tegucigalpa is home to Club Deportivo Olimpia and Club Deportivo Motagua, members of the Honduran National Soccer League. Between the two teams, they have won more than 30 championships. The Tiburcio Carias Andino National Stadium is the multi-purpose venue hosting the national and international soccer games taking place in the capital. Inter-city school sports championships take place in Tegucigalpa as well.[187]

The National College of Engineers Coliseum, west of the city near UNAH, is a basketball arena occasionally fitted as a music concert venue as well.[188] There is a sports facility known as Olympic Village Sports Complex (Complejo Deportivo Villa Olímpica) hosting several Olympic sports such as boxing, archery, tennis and tae-kwon-do; it is located north of the National University-UNAH.[189]

Education[edit]

Campus of the National Autonomous University of Honduras (UNAH).
Jesus' Sacred Heart campus in Comayagüela of the Catholic University of Honduras (UNICAH).

Tegucigalpa serves as the national education center, hosting most of the universities and higher education institutions in the country. For 2011, the national government allocated L. 9.175 billion (US$484.9 million) of the national public education budget (equal to 42.1 percent of total) to the Central District.

The public and private education system in Tegucigalpa is divided into 16 school districts (distritales).[190] All districts are part of the Departmental Directorate of Education (Dirección Departamental de Educación), which in turn is a part of the country's Secretary of Education.[191]

There are 1,235 public schools in the Central District broken down as 488 preschools, 563 elementary schools, and 184 middle and high schools. In 2003, there were a total of 287,517 students enrolled throughout the municipality—28,915 in preschool, 159,679 in elementary school, and 98,923 in middle or high school.[89] The literacy rate, as of 2011, is at 80%

Private Schools[edit]

There are about 147 bilingual schools in Tegucigalpa.[192] The American School of Tegucigalpa (K-12), Discovery School (K-12), DelCampo International School(K-12), Los Pinares Academy (K-12, Christian) and International School of Tegucigalpa (K-12, Christian) are considered the most expensive private schools of the city. Total K-12 tuition of The American School of Tegucigalpa costs a total of L.1.366 million (US$72,248) for all years (amount based on 10-11 academic year). These five private schools are highly recognized by American institutions such as the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS-CASI) and the American School of Tegucigalpa is the only one that has the International Baccalaureate (IB Program). Most of their students study abroad. Other popular private/bilingual schools include, Elvel School (K-11), Dowal School (K-11, secular), La Estancia School (K-11), Liceo Franco-Hondureño (K-12, French), Magic Castle Preschool (K), and Macris School (E-HS, Catholic), and ABC Educational Center (N-8avo, Christian).

There are two modalities in regards to the school calendar: American Period (August to July), mostly used by private and bilingual schools; and Latin Period (February to November), used by public schools.[193]

Universities[edit]

José Cecilio del Valle University (UJCV) in Colonia Humaya.

There are 12 universities in Tegucigalpa, including three state-funded higher education institutions.[194]

The National Autonomous University of Honduras (UNAH), founded in 1847, is the country's most important university and operates eight regional campuses in several other cities in the country: UNAH-Valle de Sula, UNAH-La Ceiba, UNAH-Comayagua, UNAH-Copán, UNAH-Choluteca, UNAH-Juticalpa, UNAH-Valle del Aguán, and University Technological Center UNAH–Danlí.[195] It employs 4,980 people throughout its campuses at an average annual salary of L.241,184 (US$12,747).

The other two publicly funded institutions are Francisco Morazán National Pedagogic University (UPNFM), founded in 1989, focusing on preparing future educators in several disciplines.[196] and the National Institute of Professional Formation (INFOP), founded in 1972, focusing on economic and social development disciplines. The National University of Agriculture (UNA), founded in 1950, also state-funded and located in Catacamas, Olancho, maintains an liaison office in Tegucigalpa.

There are 10 private universities in Tegucigalpa:

There is also two higher education centers: the Technological University Center (CEUTEC), part of UNITEC; and Guaymura University Center (CUG), founded in 1982.

Transportation[edit]

Southbound view of Anillo Periférico (beltway) at the María Pediatric Hospital exit.
Rush hour on Central America Blvd as viewed northbound from the Plaza Miraflores pedestrian bridge.

All barrios and colonias in Tegucigalpa can be accessed by automobile, although some neighborhoods in the city suffer from unpaved, narrow, or hilly streets making them difficult to maneuver.[203] A grid of surface streets and a network of major avenues and boulevards cross through the major areas of the capital. However, the most transited roads suffer from heavy traffic congestion due to the region's geography and disorganized urbanization.

An estimate of 400,000 vehicles take on the city streets and roads everyday. The oldest districts were not built with the advent of the automobile in mind and therefore lack efficient roadways to accommodate the overwhelming amount of vehicles. Newer developments, such as the malls, have been built with the car in mind allowing for large parking lots to accommodate their visitors. In the last decades, several of the boulevards and avenues have been retrofitted with grade separations to ease up the flow of traffic.

Roads and highways[edit]

Map showing the network of roads and highways throughout the Central District and its borders.

The Honduras Department of Public Works, Transportation and Housing (SOPTRAVI) presently divides the country's highway network into international routes (ruta internacional), national routes[disambiguation needed] (ruta nacional), and provincial routes (ruta vecinal). These are assigned numbers; however, they are more often identified using their physical destinations (e.g. Tegucigalpa-Danlí highway) rather the number itself since road signage is scarce.

International routes are given a "CA-" designation followed by a highway number (i.e. CA-1) which can be of one or two digits enclosed in a highway shield. "CA-" highways are part of the Central American highway network (hence the "CA" letters) that interconnects Honduras with its neighboring countries as part of the Pan-American Highway. National highways are assigned a two or three-digit number and provincial routes are assigned a three-digit number.

Districtwide[edit]

There are five highways connecting the Central District to the bordering municipalities and the rest of the country. These are Central American highways CA-5 (north and south) and CA-6 (east); and national highways 15 (north), 25 (northeast) and 33 (southwest).

CA-5 North connects the Central District to Comayagua Department going through Comayagua City and further north to Cortes Department and into San Pedro Sula where it connects to highways CA-4 and CA-13, one heading west connecting through the western departments until it reaches the Guatemalan border and the other traveling east towards Atlántida Department, connecting to La Ceiba and into Colón Department and its major cities.

CA-5 South connects to the municipalities of Ojojona, Santa Ana, and San Buenaventura and then enters Choluteca Department and later Valle Department, becoming highway CA-1 which travels to the west towards Nacaome and into El Salvador and to the east to Choluteca City and into Nicaragua, near the Gulf of Fonseca.

CA-6 connects to municipalities Maraita and San Antonio de Oriente and continues east into El Paraíso Department, passing through Danlí and El Paraiso municipalities eventually reaching the Nicaraguan border.

Highway 15 runs north through the bordering municipality of Talanga, it later enters the municipality of Guaimaca and then junctions with highway 43 which connects to Yoro department. Highway 15 continues northeast and enters Olancho Department, continuing until junction with highways 41 and 39 which lead to Colón Department.

Highway 25 runs northeast of the Central District and connects to the municipalities of Santa Lucía, Valle de Ángeles and San Juan de Flores. Highway 33 travels southwest and connects to the municipality of Lepaterique. About 30 other provincial roads connect to the towns and villages outside the urban area of the Central District.

Arterial roads[edit]

Anillo Periférico (beltway) at the Suyapa Boulevard overpass near Basilica of Suyapa.
Heading westbound on Armed Forces Blvd near the Metro Mall interchange.

The Anillo Periférico (beltway or ring road) and Boulevard Fuerzas Armadas (Armed Forces Blvd) are the city's two expressways—equipped with center dividers, interchanges, overpasses and underpasses—allowing for controlled-access traffic. These connect with the city's other major boulevards: Central America Blvd, Suyapa Blvd, European Community Blvd, Kuwait Blvd—which are essentially limited-access roadways as they have been equipped with interchanges but may lack underpasses or overpasses to bypass crossing surface road traffic.

Despite a network of major highways, none reach directly into the historic downtown, forcing drivers to rely heavily on surface streets. Like in most Central American cities, orientation and driving may be difficult to first-time visitors due to the nature of how streets are named, insufficient road signage and the native's driving behavior.[204] The current city administration has green lit several road infrastructure projects to help reduce traffic congestion and improve the overall aspect of the city.[205]

List of major thoroughfares in the Central District, including urban core arteries and outskirt roads:

Public transportation[edit]

"School buses"-turned public transportation buses in Tegucigalpa.

Public transportation in Tegucigalpa and Comayagüela is based on buses and taxis and they currently cover 71 percent of the capital's road migration. Bus routes are named based on the neighborhood they cover. For example, routes that travel from the downtown area to UNAH are labeled Centro-UNAH or Centro-Multiplaza-UNAH. Taxis are the quickest way to move around the city after personal auto transportation. Taxis are popular for short-distance trips or trips that required a sense of urgency. Taxis are relatively cheap for the international tourist. They are not the cheapest form of public transportation for the locals, however. There are over 12,000 taxis in the Central District.

The public transportation system in Tegucigalpa is, however, highly disorganized.[206] Being a for-profit business, it encourages competition between the fleet owners where revenue is the priority while heavily ignoring the quality and efficiency of the service. Public transportation regulation is heavily flawed. Bus drivers must compete for the passengers in order to bring the highest earnings possible while becoming a hazard for other drivers and pedestrians and contributing to traffic jams.[207] There is currently an overflow of public transportation vehicles on the roads.[208] The government has declared its public transportation system as oversupplied and inefficient.[207]

There is currently a project underway to give the public transportation system an upgrade with the addition of a bus rapid transit fleet. In late May 2011, the National Congress approved the project under a new law as part of the financing deal with the Inter-American Development Bank (IAB). The BRT system will be solely managed by the Central District government.

National and int'l ground transportation[edit]

Tegucigalpa is connected with the rest of the country through its city to city bus services. There are several bus lines connecting the capital with the rest of Honduras.[209] There is no central bus terminal in the city; in turn, there are several bus stations scattered throughout the city, particularly most in Comayagüela, and some of these stations are operated directly by the bus company serving from there. Tegucigalpa is connected with the rest of Central America and Mexico through its international bus lines. Buses leave for Guatemala, El Salvador,[210] Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama and Mexico everyday.[211][212]

Air transportation[edit]

View from aircraft as it banks sharply to align with runway on final approach. Las Hadas residential neighborhood lies below.
An American Airlines flight landing at Toncontín International Airport.

Toncontín International Airport (IATA: TGU, ICAO: MHTG), serves as the main airport in and out of Tegucigalpa. It is currently served by three domestic airlines and six international airlines connecting the capital to three cities in the United States and four cities in Central America as well as four cities within Honduras.[213]

The airport is frequently criticized as being dangerous; due to its location next to a sierra, short runway, and difficult approach. Large commercial jets are required to execute a tight hairpin left turn at very low altitude to land on the short runway. International airline pilots flying into Toncontín receive additional, specific training for the Toncontín approach.

Toncontín has been improved by the work of the Airport Corporation of Tegucigalpa (CAT), which is owned by TACA of El Salvador. It is currently managed by InterAirports, the company hired by the government of Honduras to manage the four airports in the country.[214]

The airport authority and the government of Honduras resumed the airport relocation talks in April 2011 and announced that work on the new Palmerola airport would start by the fall of 2011 after years of efforts to replace Toncontín International with an airport at Palmerola in Comayagua where the Soto Cano Air Base is located.[215] However, on a September 25, 2011 update, President Lobo stated officials were still "evaluating the pros and cons" of constructing the new airport.[216] This comes three years after former President Manuel Zelaya had announced that all commercial flights would be transferred to Soto Cano Air Base; however, work on the new terminal at Soto Cano was then cancelled after Zelaya was removed from office on 28 June 2009 in the 2009 Honduran coup d'état.[217] Upon realization of the Palmerola airport, international flights to and from Toncontín would continue to operate but would be limited to small aircraft.

Sister cities[edit]

Tegucigalpa as viewed from El Picacho-United Nations Park.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Villa de Tegucigalpa is the title given by Charles III of Spain on July 17, 1768.
  2. ^ Real Villa de San Miguel de Tegucigalpa y Heredia is the title given by Alonso Fernández de Heredia, then governor of Honduras, on June 10, 1762.
  3. ^ Real de Minas de San Miguel de Tegucigalpa is the title given by the Spaniards on September 29, 1578.

Definitions[edit]

^[a] Tegucigalpa refers to the urban area formed east of the Choluteca River when distinguished from Comayagüela. When broadly speaking to refer to the capital of the country, it includes Comayagüela and vice versa.

^[b] Comayagüela refers to the urban area formed west of the Choluteca River. Once a city of its own, it was incorporated as part of Tegucigalpa on September 28, 1890.

^[c] Central District refers to the entire municipality containing both Tegucigalpa and Comayagüela. As established by the Constitution of Honduras, it serves as national capital and therefore its limits as government seat are not reduced to the urban area formed by Tegucigalpa and Comayagüela but extend to the entire municipality; in turn, the Central District as a whole, is the capital of Honduras.

It should be noted that the Central District is not a federal district since it is not an entity outside the departments of Honduras (e.g. Washington, D.C., Mexico City); it is one of the municipalities making up the Department of Francisco Morazán.

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Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 14°05′00″N 87°13′00″W / 14.0833°N 87.2167°W / 14.0833; -87.2167