Guatemala City (in full, La Nueva Guatemala de la Asunción; locally known as Guatemala or Guate) is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Guatemala. It is also the capital city of the local Guatemala Department and the largest city in Central America.
As of the 2006 census, the city had a population of 2,156,348 although it has grown in great amounts through the last two years.The city is located in a mountain valley by the name of Valle de la Ermita in the south central part of the country.
Guatemala City is the economic, governmental and cultural capital of the Republic, and it functions as the main port of entry into the country, with the country's largest international airport, La Aurora International Airport. In addition to a wide variety of restaurants, hotels and shops, the city has a wide variety of art galleries and museums (including some fine collections of Pre-Columbian art) and continually offers an increasing amount of cultural activities.
Guatemala City is subdivided into 25 zones designed by the urban engineering of Raúl Aguilar Batres, each one with its own streets and avenues, making it very easy to find addresses in the city. Zones 20, 22, and 23 don't exist as they fall on the jurisdiction of neighbor municipalities. The city metro area has grown so fast in the past years that it has absorbed most of the neighboring municipalities, including Villa Nueva, Santa Catarina Pinula, Mixco, and the suburban area of Carretera a El Salvador, currently a big commercial and residential focal point of the city's metro area.
Zone One is the Historic Center, (Centro Histórico), lying in the very heart of the city, the location of many important historic buildings including the Palacio Nacional (National Palace), the Metropolitan Cathedral, the National Congress, the Casa Presidencial (Presidential House), the National Library and Central Park. Efforts to revitalize this important part of the city have been undertaken by the municipal government and have been very successful thus far.
In an attempt to control rapid growth of the city, the municipal government (Municipalidad de Guatemala) headed by long time Mayor Álvaro Arzú, has implemented a plan to control its growth based on transects along its important arterial roads. This plan denominated POT (Plan de Ordenamiento Territorial) aims to allow taller building structures of mixed uses to be built next to large arterial roads and gradually decline in height and density as you move away from such.
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