The former Honduran capital is located in a fertile, albeit rainless, plain in the geographic center of the country.
For some years now, Comayagua has been rediscovering its colonial past. Numerous historic buildings and churches have been restored. Among them is the cathedral, whose showpiece is an 800-year-old clock. This was once made by the Moors for the Alhambra and later donated to the city by Philip II of Spain. The facade of the Catedral de Santa Maria, built between 1685 and 1715, is decorated with sculptural figures of saints.
Even older are the churches of La Merced, whose construction began as early as 1550, and the Iglesia de San Francisco, built in 1574 as Iglesia de San Antonio in a simple style and completely remodeled between 1610 and 1620.
Finally, the early 18th-century church of La Caridad completes the city’s line of colonial sacred buildings.
After its extensive renovation, the colonial building of the former government palace now houses the archaeological museum, which has a complex collection of artifacts from the Lenca culture. Its exhibits range from prehistoric fossil finds and cave art, to jade jewelry and tools, to an outstanding collection of multicolored ceramics of the Late Classic period.
Comayagua’s important Museum of Religious Art (Museo de Arte Religioso), with its rooms housed in the old Episcopal Palace, was destroyed by fire in the summer of 2009. In a major effort, the building was completely reconstructed and reopened in August 2012. It houses the salvaged portion of the collection (approximately 60 percent).
Comayagua’s recent history is closely linked to the presence of US troops and contains several dark chapters. From the Soto Cano base, located 8km south of the city, the Contras were supported against the Sandinista revolution in Nicaragua in the 1980’s. The number of once several thousand soldiers has been reduced to less than 1000 men, not least due to massive protests by the Honduran public.
Especially after indications that HIV-infected children had apparently been abused (and infected) by soldiers, seething anti-Americanism threatened to boil over in large parts of the population. Arson attacks and attempted murders ensued until the U.S. military imposed a curfew on its soldiers. Currently, Soto Cano serves as a base in the fight against illegal drug trafficking.