Coban CalvarioFounded on August 4, 1543, Coban is the capital of Alta Verapaz district. Situated on 1,320 m (4,330 ft), and with around 100 thousand inhabitants, it is a very pleasant place, with nature resembling a bit to some parts of Europe. That is the secret of a strong German presence in this area since immigrants found Coban to be alike to the landscapes they were used to.

There are several interpretations of the origin of the name; one of which is Cob An (foggy place in Q’eqchi language). In 1599 Cobán became bishop’s see. The Ferrocarril Verapaz, a railway which connected Cobán with Lake Izabal, operated from 1895 until 1963 and was a symbol of the wealth in this coffee-growing region those days.

A sizable resident German population persists though most having been completely assimilated into the Guatemalan culture through intermarriage. Multiple German architectonic elements can still be appreciated throughout Cobán.

Every year the International half Marathon of Cobán is held during the month of May, 4,000 runners gather in Cobán to take part of the event that has become the landmark event for the region.

El Calvario Church is the most sacred site in Cobán and the focal point of religious practices throughout the year and for pilgrimages. The church is also important in local folklore when a Lacandon hunter according to legend encountered two jaguars sleeping on a rock and instead of killing them he left them in peace and when he returned the following day, the place where the jaguars had been he saw an image of Christ. It was the sighting that led to the decision to build a church on the spot.








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