Esquipulas is one of the most important places in the Department of Chiquimula and was settled at the point where Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala converge. It is an important center of confluence for millions of people who venerate Cristo Negro.
Esquipulas is also a region that possesses natural attractions and is a zone of historical geological interest that can be appreciated for its mountainous profile of volcanic origin.
Chiquimula is the cradle of the ch´ortí culture and takes pride in its possession of the traditions strongly rooted in the myths and legends of the country.
Ipala's lagoon, inside the crater of the Ipala volcano.
The pearl of the east
By: Felipe Antonio Girón Palacios
This has been an important economic and social region since the pre-Hispanic period. The remains of cave paintings in the cliffs of The Migueles, Alonzo and Cerón, in the municipality of San Juan La Ermita evidence the importance that this site had for the ancient population. In the Classic period it was within of the zone of influence of Copán. The ch'orti'es that populate the present-day municipalities of Jocotán and Camotán are the direct descendents of the inhabitants of this era. The basins of the Motagua River, Dulce River and Grande River (whose names change depending on which municipality they flow through to Camotán, Jocotán and Zacapa) create a geography which has facilitated the communication between the different populations. With the establishment of the colonial regime the territory of Chiquimula de la Sierra was formed, which included the totality of the present-day departments of Zacapa and Chiquimula, as well as the largest part of the present-day departments of El Progreso, Jalapa and Jutiapa. Chiquimula was the principality of this territory. In this era the foreign trade of Guatemala was conducted via the Caribbean Sea and the trade route crossed the territory. Many of the black slaves who fled from their owners took root along this route as did many Spanish colonists who originated from Andalucía and Castilla during the 16th and 17th centuries. These groups formed the ethnic characteristics of the region. In the independence period administrative changes were made which led to the division of this territory into the present-day Departments. One of the most important events that occurred in this region was the Battle of La Arada, where the Guatemalan military defeated a coalition that attempted to invade the territory. Among the sites most visited is the city of Esquipulas, noted for its Basílica del Cristo Negro which honors the faithful of Guatemala, Mexico and Central America and whose followers extend from South America to New York.
The Kingdom of minerals
By: Luis Villar Anleu
A long time ago this region was known as Chiquimula de La Sierra, an expression derived from the mountainous territory. However, it is not a region of high altitude like the extreme west of the Volcanic Chain, of which it is a part.
Geologic faults contribute to the formation of the powerful setting that characterizes this Department. Some, like those of Jocotán, form the extensive valleys, routes for rivers and overhangs in the overwhelming Chaparral Espinoso.
Chiquimula has a great number of attractions, but the seven of greatest tradition are Volcán and Laguna de Ipala, Volcán Quezaltepeque, Poza de la Pila, the spa on the Río Jocotán, La Piedra de los Compadres, Cerro de Montecristo and Ruta Histórica del Peregrino.
By: Francisco Rodríguez Rouanet and Aracely Esquivel
The ceramics here correspond to the traditional ceramic style and they produce jugs, dishes for baking tortillas, containers and bowls in the municipalities of Chiquimula, Jocotán, Camotán, Olopa, Concepción Las Minas and Quezaltepeque. In the municipality of Concepción las Minas they create glazed ceramics in plate, vase and basin designs.
They weave elaborate baskets in the municipalities of Camotán, Jocotán, San Juan Ermita, Olopa, Quezaltepeque and Concepción las Minas.
They create a diversity of products from the fibers of the maguey, among them items for hanging clothing, rugs, purses, mats, saddlebags and hammocks. They are fabricated in the municipalities of Chiquimula, Jocotán, Camotán, San Juan Ermita, Olopa, Quezaltepeque and Concepción Las Minas.
In the municipalities of Chiquimula, Jocotán, San Juan Ermita, Ipala, Quezaltepeque, Concepción Las Minas and Esquipulas they utilize prime tanned skin materials in the production of purses, saddles and other riding gear.
A diversity of pyrotechnics is crafted in the municipalities of Quezaltepeque, Concepción las Minas and Esquipulas.
Various products are produced in this material in the municipality of Chiquimula.
The candies of Esquipulas and Concepción las Minas are also very important as are products of wood, palm, and metal, tiles, tulle and construction materials.
By: Carlos René García Escobar
Cofradías and Hermandades
In Chiquimula the old cofradías have been reduced in the present day to "mayordomías" and take the name of "Corporación de Mayordomos". They are in charge of the organization and administration of the patron festivals that are celebrated in the municipalities of Chiquimula, Esquipulas and Quezaltepeque.
The cofradía of Villa de Quezaltepeque has always preserved its original structure, with the constituents of "two mayores, one cofrade, two auxiliares, four tenances and the alguaciles". The tenances are four women in charge of tasks, for the cofradía and the church, such as providing flowers and necessary adornments.
The most popular dance in Chiquimula is the Moros y Cristianos, which is performed for the patron festivals under distinct variations that are first practiced in Quezaltepeque and then dispersed to adjacent municipalities like Chiquimula and Esquipulas. The known variations are the Historia de la Exaltación de la Santa Cruz, Historia Famosa del Cerco de Roma y sus Dos Desafíos, Historia de Muley and the Historia Famosa de Fierabrás.