La Merced carries the full name of Iglesia y Convento de Nuestra Señora de la Merced. The church and convent is located in the colonial city Antigua in Guatemala and is one of Antiguas most stunning colonial style churches. Shining in a bright yellow against the blue Guatemalan sky, the building reflects hope and glory. La Merced is also part of the route in memory of the holy brother Peter: A walk around Antigua Guatemala on the trail of the work and life of brother Peter, a Spanish saint and missionary.
The construction of the church began in 1548. However, decades later improvement work, modifications and amplification were still going on, when the first earthquake struck the building and destroyed it in 1717. The rebuilding was already finished in 1767, but only six years later, in 1773, an earthquake hit the building again. The church was built to resist earthquakes and remained thus intact. In contrast, the convent was destroyed completely. In fact, later the convent was used as a stone pitch in order to construct the church San Felipe de Jesús.
Today, you can appreciate the fascinating baroque style facade, adorned with white painted decoration. The facade features, among others, the statue of San Pedro Nolasco (founder of the Merced orden) and the statue of Nuestra Señorda de las Mercedes. On the left side of the church you will find the ruins of the convent, which is open to the public in exchange of a small entrance fee. You will enter the huge patio, which is home to a giant fountain. With its 27 meter in diameter, the fountain is believed to be the biggest one in Central America. You can also visit the first floor of the convent ruins, where the convent chambers used to be situated. Even though the building is not that high, you can enjoy a nice panoramic view over Antigua with the three volcanoes Agua, Acatenango and Fuego in the background.
The church is three blocks north from the Central Square, walking down the 5a Avenida Sur