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230th Anniversary of the foundation of Guatemala City

Our Lady of the Anguishes Catholic Church

La Exposición District, Zone 4
 


The Our Lady of the Anguishes catholic church, or “Yurrita”, is located at the beginning of Reforma Avenue, Zone 9.  Its very odd architecture is quite different from the other religious buildings in town, which are mostly Neoclassical. 

 

Yurrita Church.

This church is located in what used to be the March 11 Avenue.  It is a private chapel that combines the Baroque style with Roman and Byzantine elements, which were the favorites of the owner, Felipe Yurrita.  The church was built from 1927 to 1941. The church’s design is very odd, says María Elena Schlesinger:



“Yurrita is like a small inventory of the main stylistic currents  that flourished throughout Europe.  Better yet, it is a mix of what the owner liked best: the design is very whimsical, it uses vertical lines, Gothic arches and Moorish elements”.



The esthetic elements are quite varied and include expressions of art nouveau and Antonio Gaudí’s modern style, as well as Moorish elements.



Legend

 

The church was built as an votive offering from Felipe Yurrita, who was born in Arévalo, Castille, Spain, to Our Lady of the Anguishes, patron of the town, in gratitude for favors conceded, particularly for having saved his life during the eruption of the Santa María volcano in 1902, whence it spew a large amount of debris over the coffee plantations owned by the Yurrita family in El Tumbador, San Marcos.



According to family lore, most of the area residents barely escaped death because Yurrita had pleaded to the patron Saint of Arévalo to save him and his neighbors.  In gratitude, in 1927 Yurrita began the arduous task, with the collaboration of Félix and Regino Velásquez, masons from San Marcos.  Yurrita would communicate his wishes to the Velásquez brothers: a stone portico similar to one he had seen during his last trip to France and decorations with palm fronds like those that grow in the coast.

 

Old picture of Our Lady of the Anguishes Catholic Church.

The Velásquez brothers had proven their skills in other constructions of the El Tumbador area, especially in the farms El Ferrol and Australia, which they had built using elements similar to the church in question, especially regarding the ornaments and colors.

 

The same standards dictated the construction of the homes of the Yurrita family in Guatemala City, the first house at 6th Avenue North, where the Supreme Electoral Tribunal stands today, and the second one by the church, which ceded its place to stores.



The church was inaugurated on June 15, 1941, five months before Felipe Yurrita passed on.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beloved Neighborhood Program
Frieda Liliana Morales Barco, Ph.D.
Lecturas: 7482