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The History of Comayagua, Honduras

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COMAYAGUA

Comayagua was originally a Colonial city inside the area of Honduras, and was founded on December 8th in 1537 by Conquistador Alonso De Caceres who was ordered by Don Francisco Montego, first Governor of Hibueras (the original name for Honduras), to find a suitable location to create a city best positioned in between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. The city was referred to as Santa Maria De La Nueva Valladolid by the Spanish, but part of the original Lenca Indians name, “Com” which meant “Land”, was retained in the translation of the locals new name for the place, “Land of Water”, water being agua in Spanish. All together than, it was called Comayagua, “Com” for land in Lenka and “Agua” for water in Spanish. Being the first city in the region and central to trade, it was made the original capital of Honduras and remained the capital throughout the Colonial period.

The Honduran Mosquitia is part of the largest remaining tract of tropical lowland forest in Central America. This is the first treatment of the reptiles and amphibians of any portion of the Mosquitia. The authors discuss the composition, distribution, natural history, biogeography, conservation status, and the future well being of the herpetofauna of the Mosquitia of Honduras. A primary goal of this work is to increase the awareness of the ecological value that amphibians and reptiles have in the maintenance of healthy, functioning, natural ecosystems. A color photograph illustrates each of the 156 species.

The colonial past is evident in several of the old churches, and it’s stunning grand Cathedral. Hondurans today nickname the city, La Antañona, for it’s antiquity, and also because it still has most of the original buildings, with architectural value from the colonial  time. For this alone, it’s one of the most interesting cities to visit in the Americas, to view these still standing relics of the first moments of creation by modern mankind in the New World, the Spanish Colonial period.

Comayagua has also become the name for the entire region of valley located between Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula, and is one of the wonders of Honduras. It has become an international attraction for tourism, and during Easter (Semana Santa) the city becomes the capital of Catholic Tourism in Honduras.

THE CATHEDRAL

The beautiful grand Cathedral dedicated to Santa Maria, is located in the central square of Comayagua and is called The Cathedral of Immaculate Conception. It is the oldest cathedral in Central America. Building commenced in 1563 until it was finally inaugurated on December 8th, 1711.

On the main altar can be seen a piece of golden wood, with the image of the Immaculate Conception carved on it, which was made by Francisco de Ocampo and donated to the city by King Philip III of Spain. The church has eight recessed religious sculptures, which were a donation from Felipe VI of Spain.

The Cathedral has the oldest clock in the Americas. A gear-style clock that was built by the Arabs in the year 1100 and was brought to Comayagua in the year 1636. Initially it was installed in the church La Merced, and later transferred to the Cathedral of Immaculate Conception in Comayagua in 1711 for it’s inauguration. The clock mechanism is based on gears, ropes, weights and a pendulum, all of this together, to show the time on the front panel which is located on the tower of the Cathedral.

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CULTURE

Comayagua is culturally diverse, and during Easter there is a tradition of the local people to make area rugs out of colored sawdust. The city becomes very beautiful, dressed with different designs of religious subjects everywhere one can see. Many families have designated locations on the main street where, every year, they work very hard to create their special designs. All of this is done during the night of “Holy Thursday”, so that on Friday, the procession that represents the path of Jesus to Calvary can be made over over the beautiful carpets.

In the beginning of February, is a traditional costumed performance that originated 370 years ago by the Moors and Christians. The Moors would dress in black and white and the Christians in colorful costumes. The dramatic performance is in remembrance of the persecutions of the Christians by the Roman Empire. Now, the celebration is continued by mostly men who dress in clothes of many colors and masks, made out it wood, who dance to a rhythm from their rattles, in the main streets of the City.

I’m very proud of my beautiful City of Comayagua and it’s Colonial beauty. I hope you enjoyed reading. Please comment below… 

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Kathy was born in Comayagua, Honduras, and has lived in The Caribbean, Cancun, Los Angeles, and Baja California. She enjoys cooking and creating delicious recipes, travelling, blogging, and spends her most cherished time with her husband and children.