National Theater of Guatemala

Photo in the Public Domain.

National Theater of Guatemala is part of the Tentative list of Guatemala in order to qualify for inclusion in the World Heritage List.

The National Theater of Guatemala is a modernist building inspired by traditional Mayan motifs. It was designed by Guatemalan architect Efraín Recinos and completed in 1978. The theater, formally known as the Miguel Ángel Asturias Cultural Center, is located at San José Buena Vista Hill in Guatemala City.

Map of National Theater of Guatemala

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The coordinates shown for all tentative sites were produced as a community effort. They are not official and may change on inscription.

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Jarek Pokrzywnicki

Polska - 08-Mar-23 -

National Theater of Guatemala (T) by Jarek Pokrzywnicki

Site visited recently, February 2023. Modernist complex of buildings commonly known as Centro Cultural Miguel Ángel Asturias, located in the center of Guatemala City.  Approximate Google coordinates of the place 14.62723007680044, -90.51759755769069.

Quaint project of leading Guatemalan architects, Efrain Recinos and Carlos Alberto Haeussler. Main building of the complex (theatre or cultural centre) was intended to resemble a sitting jaguar, ornaments were taken from Mayan culture. Complex is relatively young, it was completed in 1978 and dedicated to Miguel Ángel Asturias who was a writer and Nobel Prize winner.

The whole area looks as well maintained and fully utilized. Main theatre building houses also Hugo Carillo theatre. Other notable structures are: Escuela Nacional de la Marimba, Military Museum and my favourite Teatro al Aire Libre, Otto René Castillo (open theatre with external columns). Central part of the complex contains different fountains.

It may be interesting addition of modern architecture to Latin American sites as so far only limited places are inscribed on UNESCO list (just UNAM and Luis Barragan house from Mexico, none from other Central American countries). The only question that comes to my mind – isn’t it too early for inscription. We will see. For sure it would require a lot of efforts and publicity.


The site is located on the small hill in the central part of Guatemala City (Centro Civico district, Zona 1), access to the site from the north via 21 Calle de Castillo or from the south via 24 Calle. You can visit the site free of charge (so far) with full access to every building in the complex (at least during my visit it was possible to see interior of theatre or enter other buildings). National Theatre is located around 2 km from another tentative site in Guatemala City, Metropolitan Cathedral of Santiago of Guatemala, one component from Route of the Peace and National Identity.

Most travellers, while visiting Guatemala stay overnight in Antigua Guatemala but if not there are plenty of different accommodation choices in the city center, most of them around different bus stations (each company has its own bus station in Guatemala City).

More about the site:

Places on the photo, bottom left, than clockwise: interior of Centro Cultural (Main building), Exterior, fountains, Teatro al Aire Libre

Full Name
National Theater of Guatemala
Structure - Civic and Public Works
2022 Added to Tentative List

The site has 1 locations

National Theater of Guatemala (T)
WHS 1997-2024