Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras, got its tongue twisting name from the ancient Nahuatl language, and translated means "silver mountain" In effect, Tegucigalpa came to being during colonial times as a mining center. "Tegus" as its inhabitants affectionately call it, is a mix of an old colonial city that has turned into the modern capital of Honduras. As a matter of fact, Tegucigalpa became the most important mining center in Central America during colonial times.
Tegucigalpa's entry to the list of country capitals came to be by chance. It is said that the society of Comayagua, the long time colonial capital of Honduras, publicly disliked the wife of President Marco Aurelio Soto, who took revenge by moving the capital of the republic to Tegucigalpa. Going beyond the public saying, it is most likely that the change of the seat of the capital took place due to the fact that President Marco Aurelio Soto was an important partner of the Rosario Mining Company, whose operations where based in San Juancito, located about 40 km. outside of Tegucigalpa, and his need to be closer to his personal interests.
A city with very pleasant climate, Tegucigalpa is nestled in a valley at about 3000-ft making its climate ideal. A gateway into Pacific coast, as well as to the numerous attractions that are located in central and southern Honduras.
Getting around Tegucigalpa can be a confusing experience. Despite the colonial history of the city, it does not have the typical Spanish layout of square streets around the Central Park. This is mostly due to the fact that terrain around the city did not allow this. Originally two separate cities, Tegucigalpa and Comayaguela have grown into one big city. The Choluteca River is still the official boundary between the sister cities, and Tegucigalpa is by far the better of the two. The majority of colonial buildings and higher end neighborhoods being located within its boundaries. Today, both cities have been officially joined, sharing the same city mayor, etc.
The commercial heart of Tegucigalpa is located within the Boulevard Morazán, a modern bustling district also known as "la zona viva". In this area you will find many of the restaurants, shops and offices of the higher echelon of all Honduras. In addition to this pleasant area, you will also find the old historical center of town very interesting. Within the Historical center you will find old buildings, such as the Cathedral, dedicated to the patron saint of Tegucigalpa, Michael Archangel. Built between 1765 and 1782, it has an exquisite baroque altar. Another interesting old church is the Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de los Dolores, located only a few blocks from the Central Park. This church is living proof of the importance that Tegucigalpa had during colonial days as a mining center. The buildings around the Plaza de la Merced all built during the XVII century, were all part of one unit, the Mercedian monks called this home. During the XIX century these buildings housed the National University of Honduras, and today it houses the Museum of the Honduran Man, known in Spanish as the "Museo del Hombre Hondureño". The Manuel Bonilla Theater, whose interior decoration was inspired from the Atheneé Theater of Paris, is another interesting building where shows are often played. The "Museo Nacional Villaroy", home of Don Julio Lozano Diaz, one of the late presidents of Honduras, houses an exhibition of republican history of Honduras.
Dominating the valley below, the "Parque de La Leona" as well as the "Parque de Las Naciones Unidas" or United Nations park offer green pockets where the locals enjoy their days off. In addition, the "parque de la Concordia" offers you replicas of Mayan temples in miniature size. Getting to the above mentioned parks can be tricky, however, taxis are plentiful in Tegucigalpa and these are not expensive, and will usually run under 40 lempiras for a trip. It is however a good idea to negotiate the rate before you use the service.
The central market is extremely interesting, however we must warn you, as in any other large market, you must keep an eye out for pick pockets. It is not recommended at all to venture into the market area after dark.
Also of interest is the Basilica of our lady of Suyapa, the patron saint of Honduras and most revered site of the Honduran Catholics.
Changing dollars into lempiras in Tegus is easy. There are many banks throughout the city, specially within the Boulevard Morazan and downtown areas. Banco Atlantida offers cash withdrawals from your Visa cards, and Credomatic located at Bulevar Morazan offers cash withdrawals for Visa and Master Card. American Express is represented by Credomatic, whose main offices are located in the Boulevard Morazan
Although Tegucigalpa is no longer famous for its Easter Week celebrations, a big effort is being made to revive the old traditions that marked this week, the holiest for the Catholic religion. From Good Thursday to Easter Sunday there are a series of celebrations that include the preparation of colorful sawdust carpets that some of the religious procesions will walk over, as well as religious events at the differents churches in the downtown area. Because the city is deserted during this week by its dwellers, who escape to the beaches, and the downtown area is closed to traffic in order to prepare the traditional sawdust carpets, the city becomes a paradise to stroll around and discover all the lovely and charming old buildings and cobblestoned streets in the downtown area. Hotels are generally empty, so getting accommodations in the city is no problem at all. So if you are interested in experiencing the colorful celebrations of Easter Week, you don’t need to go to crowded and pricy Antigua Guatemala, just drop by Tegus and enjoy it all before it becomes trendy and expensive!
One of the most recent monuments in Tegucigalpa is the masive image of Christ that overlooks the city. Known as the Christ of the Picacho, because of the mountaintop where it is located, it was built in 1997 but has rapidly become a favourite image to depict the city. You can travel up to the mountain where the image is located at the Picacho Park, where a series of other monuments, a small zoo and an impresive view of the city are all available. This park is a favourite spot for the city dwellers to spend their weekends.
§§ source:honduras.com §§