Friday, July 20, 2012

Beautiful Beautiful Antigua きれいなきれいなアンティグア

I fell in love with Antigua when I first went there with Peace Boat. I couldn't believe that I hadn't even heard about this place until I discovered it with my friends on my 24th birthday (read more on It was the best birthday I could ever ask for.
The colorful buildings, the unstable but homely cobblestone streets, the clock tower, lovely churches... the whole atmosphere makes what I call another hometown.

ピースボートを通じて、初めて行ったアンティグア。偶然にも24歳の誕生日に友達と行ったアンティグアはすぐに大好きになった(詳しくは で)。最高の誕生日だった。

Living there for 3 months, I realized that not only tourists become drawn into Antigua's charms... the residents were very very proud of their hometown. My homestay parents were thrilled to show me around the town, and would constantly tell me how much they love their hometown and loved the fact that so many people that came to visit loved it there.


Antigua is a colonial town, that once was Spain's colonial capital of Central America. It was established 1543, after the first capital, Ciudad Vieja (literally meaning Old City) was affected by the water overflowing from the crater of Volcano Agua ruining the city. In 1773 however, Antigua suffered two huge earthquakes, and they moved the capital to what is now the capital of Guatemala, Guatemala City. 


The colonial town Antigua is registered as a World Heritage Site, and puts a lot of efforts to keep its beauty. There are no traffic lights, as they did not exists in colonial times, cars are not allowed to honk because that kind of sounds didn't exist then and disrupt with the atmosphere. All buildings must not have more than two floors, and on the outside only have colonial colors- people who disobey this have their construction stopped. 
The cobblestone streets may be wobbly and dangerous, people may paint their houses blue or pink, but they all respect the rules to preserve the treasure of the city that they have. I noticed that it is because of these kind of efforts that I could witness and experience Antigua, and I started to question and also be convinced that many modern cities probably have lost parts of itself that maybe some people worked hard to preserve- we may never know.
I was impressed with the efforts of guatemalans, antigueños antigueñas as they call themselves, to protect, treasure, preserve their city just the way it was to be what it is now as well.


I don't know where it will be, but I hope to someday settle down in a place were I can feel this strongly about a place as people in Antigua feel about their home.
Cities are created by man. Change or no change, is up to man as well.  

それがどこになるか分からないけど、そんなふうに思える場所に私も将来落ち着きたい。 町って人間が作ったもので、その変化に受け入れるか反対するかも人間次第。

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