One of the oldest and most historic settlements in Honduras, dominated by Montañas de Celaque, Puca and Opulaca - the country's highest peaks - Gracias is a charming, friendly town. Just 50 km from Santa Rosa, both the town and the surrounding countryside are worth a visit. Gracias was the centre from which Francisco de Montejo, thrice Governor of Honduras, put down the great indigenous revolt of 1537-1538. Alonso de Cáceres, his lieutenant, besieged Lempira the indigenous leader in his impregnable mountain-top fortress at Cerquín, finally luring him out under a flag of truce, ambushed him and treacherously killed him. When the Audiencia de los Confines was formed in 1544, Gracias became for a time the administrative centre of Central America.

The helpful
tourist office
in the middle of the Parque Central can store luggage and arrange transport to Parque Nacional Celaque.

There are three colonial churches,
San Sebastián
Las Mercedes
San Marcos
(a fourth, Santa Lucía, is southwest of Gracias), and a restored fort, with two fine Spanish cannon,
on a hill five minutes' walk west of the centre. The fort,
El Castillo San Cristóbal
, has been well restored, and at the foot of the northern ramparts is the tomb of Juan Lindo, President of Honduras 1847-1852, who introduced free education through a system of state schools.

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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