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Located in the mountains, Guatemala City is a fascinating tourist destination with a lively urban center. The capital of Guatemala is rich in historical sites and is close to impressive natural areas, such as the four volcanoes that cross its horizon. One of its main characteristics is the diversity of its inhabitants. Travelers are fascinated by its linguistic wealth, since up to 21 different Mayan dialects can be heard in its streets and markets. Due to improvements in the transportation system, the historic center of Guatemala is close to hotels for the convenience of travelers and city dwellers. The modern metro stations are linked to public buses that run in reserved lanes. The fee is one quetzal, barely twelve euro cents. Taxis are usually available as well, but minibuses are by far the easiest way to get around the metropolitan area and its surroundings. The best hotels in Guatemala offer round-trip hotel transportation in a private minibus, allowing for a worry-free visit.
Your exploration of the fascinating historic center begins with the Metropolitan Cathedral, an imposing neoclassical cathedral that has withstood several earthquakes. Its structure is quite simple compared to the ornate decoration of its interior altars. The 12 pillars at the entrance bear the names of those who disappeared from the Civil War, in memory of the fallen in a conflict that lasted 36 years, between 1960 and 1996. Next door is the National Palace of Culture, which formerly housed government offices and is now a museum. Completed in 1943, this majestic building is a mix of architectural styles ranging from Spanish Colonial to Neoclassical. A two-ton gold and crystal chandelier hangs from the reception room ceiling, and a mural by Alberto Gálvez Suárez depicting Guatemalan history graces the main staircase. After contemplating the country's history, visitors can return to the present with a walk along the redeveloped Sixth Street Pedestrian Street, where they will find local crafts such as ceramics, textiles, leather goods and baskets at the Central Market.
The city is home to several sites related to Mayan culture. One of the best is the Museo Ixchel del Traje Indígena, near the best hotels in Guatemala City. This museum has examples of indigenous clothing and images that show scenes of daily life. Mannequins dressed in the bright colors of traditional clothing bring the textiles to life in a truly interesting display. Another Mayan heritage site is located a little further, on the outskirts of the city. In the Kaminaljuyú Archaeological Park tourists can explore the remains of an ancient great city. Most of the ruins are now covered by urban development, which speaks volumes about Guatemala City's complex history.