The foundations of the first cathedral built in the new city of Santiago were laid in 1542, using the debris brought in by bishop Marroquin from Cuidad Vieja, the previous capital. Its construction and continuous repairs lasted throughout the rest of the century, caused by the delays from lack of funds and the earthquakes of 1651, 63, and 66.

The original roof was made of straw, which was later replaced with wood and a carved paneled ceiling.


The demolition of this first cathedral began in 1669 in order to build the second cathedral at the same site. This was inaugurated eleven years later.

The layout of this cathedral was typical of the Spanish cathedral of the period, grand in its architecture and decorated with great artistic treasures by contemporary sculptors, painters, and silversmiths.

Elevated to the rank of "metropolitan" in 1743, its was probably the largest and most luxurious in Central America.


Among the ruins, we may still appreciate the elaborate decorations sculptured on the dome, columns and pillars, cornices and vaults. For almost 100 years, itís survived three major earthquakes, but the earthquakes of 1773 destroyed it completely.

Two of the chapels at the entrance remained almost intact; they were restored at the beginning of the XIX century and today are called the parish church of san Jose.



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