Guatemala City Feature

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Mapa en Relieve

Mapa en Relieve. If you want to get the lay of the land before you head out to the country, this unusual relief map depicts Guatemala's precipitous topography. The layout is so immense—1,800 square meters, or 19,500 square feet—that your best view is from an observation tower. What makes it even more amazing is that it was completed in 1905, before satellite and aerial topography, and long before Google Earth. The flashy Spanish-language Web site focuses on the late-19th- and early-20th-century development and construction of the map, a labor of love of engineer (and amateur geographer) Francisco Vela (1859–1909). Altitudes are greatly exaggerated: horizontally, the map uses a 1:10,000 scale, but vertically, it's 1:2,000. The map lies several blocks north of the Old City, not far from the Cervecería Centroamericana and its brewery tour; a taxi is your best bet for getting here.

Parque Minerva, 6 Av. Norte final, Zona 2, Guatemala City, 01002. 2254–1114. Q15. Daily 9–5.

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