Sights

Crossing the river from Comayagüela by the colonial Mallol bridge, on the left is the old Casa Presidencial (1919), home to the National Archive. When this was a museum, visitors could see the President's office and the Salón Azul state room. Try asking - you may be lucky. (The new Palacio Presidencial is a modern building on Boulevard Juan Pablo II in Colonia Lomas del Mayab.)

Calle Bolívar leads to the Congress building and the former site of the University, founded in 1847. The site adjoining the church in Plaza La Merced is now the
Galería Nacional de Arte
, a beautifully restored 17th-century building, housing a very fine collection of Honduran modern and colonial art, prehistoric rock carvings and some remarkable pre-Colombian ceramic pieces. There are useful descriptions of exhibits, and explanations of the mythology embodied in the prehistoric and pre-Colombian art.

Calle Bolívar leads to the main square, Plaza Morazán (commonly known as Parque Central). On the eastern side of the square are the
Palacio del Distrito Central
, and the domed and double-towered
cathedral
, built in the late 18th century but are currently undergoing a complete facelift. See the gilt colonial altarpiece, the fine examples of Spanish colonial art, the cloisters and, in Holy Week, the ceremony of the Descent from the Cross.

Avenida Miguel Paz Barahona, running through the north side of the square, is a key venue. To the east is the church of
San Francisco
, with its clangorous bells, and (on 3 Calle, called Avenida Cervantes) the old
Spanish Mint
(1770), now the national printing works.

From Plaza Morazán, heading west towards the river to Avenida Miguel Paz Barahona, opposite the Post Office is the
Museo Para La Identidad Nacional
, a new museum that is unashamedly about Honduras for Hondurans. Good big-screen trip, and a well-thought-out trip through Honduran history from plate tectonics to the present day. Just enough detail without getting heavy. Every capital city in Central America should have a museum like this.

Head east a block, then left (north) along 5 Calle (Calle Los Dolores), is the 18th-century church of
Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de los Dolores
. Two blocks north and three blocks west of the church is the beautiful Parque Concordia with good copies of Maya sculpture and temples. On a hilltop one block above Parque Concordia, on Calle Morelos 3A, is
Museo de la Historia Republicana Villa Roy
, www.ihah.hn
, the former site of the Museo Nacional and, in 1936, home of the former president, Julio Lozano. The building was restored, reconstructed and reopened in 1997. There are seven main rooms presenting Honduras' history from Independence in 1821 up to 1963, as well as cultural and temporary exhibits and a collection of graceful old cars.

Back on Avenida Miguel Paz Barahona, and further west, are the
Teatro Nacional Manuel Bonilla
, with a rather grand interior (1915) inspired by the Athenée Theatre in Paris and, across the square, the beautiful old church of
El Calvario
. Built in elegant colonial style, El Calvario's roof is supported by 14 pillars.

In Colonia Palmira, to the southeast of the city, is Boulevard Morazán, with shopping and business complexes, embassies, banks, restaurants,
cafeterías
and bars. You can get a fine view of the city from the
Monumento a La Paz
, on Juana Laínez hill, near the Estadio Nacional (National Stadium), but don't walk up alone.

The backdrop to Tegucigalpa is the summit of
El Picacho
, with the Cristo del Picacho statue looming up to the north , although this can be hard to see at times. From Plaza Morazán go up 7 Calle and the Calle de la Leona to
Parque La Leona
, a small handsome park with a railed walk overlooking the city and safer than Monumento a La Paz. Higher still is the reservoir in El Picacho, also known as the
United Nations Park
.

Comayagüela

Crossing the bridge of 12 de Julio (quite near the Teatro Nacional Manuel Bonilla) you can visit Comayagüela's market of San Isidro. In the Edificio del Banco Central, is the
Pinacoteca Arturo H Medrano
, which houses approximately 500 works by five Honduran artists and the
Museo Numismático
, which has a collection of coins and banknotes from Honduras and around the world. Funds have been set aside to restore the older parts of Comayagüela, which should make the place more enjoyable to explore.

This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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