Central post office

post01Famous Guatemalan earthquake from 1976 “cleaned” the historical center of Guatemala City. It looks like it swept the buildings with a lower value and opened space for new construction. This sad event was just one of the causes of today look of the Zone 1; other natural and social turmoils also left their marks in this area.

Zone 1 is a mixture of older architecture that mirrors in many family houses, but also in the neocolonial style of the thirties and forties, in a brave modern architecture of the fifties and sixties, as well as some more contemporary architectonic experiments. Tectonic-architectonic combination.

But there was also Second World War that was not such a big news here. Guatemala remained aside and peaceful while most of the world had to take care of German and Japanese Empires. So, two architects, Rafael Perez de Leon and Enrique Riera, had a pleasant time and sufficient funding starting in the year 1940 to build Central Post and Telegraph Office on the corner(s) of 12th Street and 7th Avenue. Knowing that at the time the local boss was dictator Jorge Ubico it was obvious that this project would be huge and full of neoclassicism elements soaked in national pride and feeling of power.

Post Office | Guatexplorer

Post Office | Guatexplorer

Famous arch and the entrance to former Central Post Office of Guatemala

At the same time, Perez de Leon was involved in other large projects like Presidential Palace (today it is a National Culture Palace) and National Police building. Dictator and his architect, it sounds familiar. Nevertheless, Perez de Leon did his job very nicely and his golden years left notable buildings that are today even landmarks of the urban core of Guatemala City. If you walk around Zone 1, just ask where the arch building is, and there you are.

Arch was needed to connect two corner buildings of the Central Post Office. It resembles the one in Antigua Guatemala, but this one is much bigger and decorated with national symbols of Guatemala. Tourists can visit the building; today inside are many cultural organizations and there was still a place to leave the post office, where you can find some nice postcards. If you find yourself near, don’t miss this experience. After the visit, you’ll be a bit afraid to exit the building because you’ll think it’s the forties again. And that outside is dictator Ubico, still alive and well. But don’t worry, if this time machine place somehow throws you into the past, remember that revolution of 1944 is close. But, that’s another Guatemalan story…

Post Office | Guatexplorer

Post Office | Guatexplorer

Post Office | Guatexplorer

Post Office | Guatexplorer

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