Ermita de Salcajá: First Chapel of Guatemala

Ermita de Salcajá: First Chapel of Guatemala  by Rudy Girón

Just outside of Quetzaltenango, so close that it could be a colonia of Xela, there’s a village known for its liquors “Caldo de frutas” (fruit punch) and Rompopo (similar to eggnog) and this chapel, known as La Conquistadora, Ermita de la Concepción, or Ermita de Salcajá, which was the first Catholic chapel ever built in Guatemala and Central America for the matter.

This historic building also houses the first Spanish cemetery of Central America. La Ermita de Salcajá is located on what’s now known as the barrio San Jacinto in the Municipality of Salcajá and was funded on May 7, 1524.

La Conquistadora was the name given to the Virgin of Conception by the indigenous population. Another interesting trivia about Salcajá is the fact that the first mestiza (mixed race), Leonor de Alvarado Xicontencatl, of Central America was born here. All these reasons should be excuse enough to pay a visit to Salcajá in case you haven’t already done so. (source: 100% Chapín)

What other things can you share with us about Salcajá?

© 2012, Rudy Girón. All rights reserved.

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  • What fascinating history! I never knew that La Conquistadora is another name for la Virgencita. And, that church is beautiful. At the bottom, it’s simple and unadorned, and at the top, has such intricate detail. It looks like it grew right out of the ground.