Tegucigalpa is the capital city of Honduras according to simplyyellowpages. Tegucigalpa was founded by Spanish colonizers as Real de Minas de San Miguel de Tegucigalpa on September 29, 1578 on the site of an existing native settlement of the Pech, Tolupanes, and Twahkas. The first mayor of Tegucigalpa was Juan de la Cueva, who took office in 1579. The Church of Dolores (1735), the Cathedral of San Miguel (1765), the Casa de la Modeda (1780), and the Church of the Immaculate Conception (1788) were some of the first important buildings constructed.
Nearly 200 years later, on October of June of 1762, this mining town became royal city of Tegucigalpa and San Miguel de Heredia under the control of Alonso Fernandez de Heredia, the then acting governor of Honduras. In the late 1700s and early 1800s, there was an interruption in the local government of Tegucigalpa, having died in 1788 to become part of Comayagua in 1791 to return to self-government of the city in 1817.
In 1817, the then mayor Narciso Mallol began the construction of the first bridge, made of masonry with ten arches, which connects both sides of the Choluteca River. Once completed four years later, it linked Tegucigalpa with its neighboring city of Comayagüela. In 1821, Tegucigalpa legally became a city. In 1824, the first Congress of the Republic of Honduras declared that Tegucigalpa and Comayagua, then the two most important cities in the country, should alternate the capital of the country.
After October 1838, after the independence of Honduras and its emergence as a single republic, the capital continued to alternate between Tegucigalpa and Comayagua until October 30, 1880, when Tegucigalpa was declared the permanent capital of Honduras by then-President Marco Aurelio. Soto. A popular myth says that the society of Comayagua, the long-time colonial capital of Honduras, did not like the wife of President de Soto, who took revenge by moving the capital to Tegucigalpa. A more likely theory is that the change took place because President Soto was an important partner of the Rosario Mining Company, a mining company Silver America, whose operations are based in San Juancito, near Tegucigalpa, and had to be close to his personal interests.
Around 1898, it was decided that both Tegucigalpa and Comayagüela, the neighboring cities being on the banks of the Choluteca River, would form the capital, but with different names and separate local governments. During this period, the two cities had a population of about 40,000 people.
Between the years 1930 and 1960, Tegucigalpa continued to grow reaching a population of more than 250,000 people, giving way to what would become one of the largest neighborhoods in the city, the Kennedy Colonia, the Autonomous University of Honduras, the UNAH and the construction of the Hotel Honduras Maya. It remained relatively small and provincial until the 1970s, when migration from rural areas began in earnest. During the 1980s, several avenues, overpasses of traffic, and the great buildings were constructed, a novelty with respect to a city characterized until then by the two floors of buildings. However, in the absence of the enforcement of urban planning and zoning laws, a very messy urbanization resulted. This lack of proper urbanization due to population growth is evident on the various surrounding hill slopes in the city, where some of the city’s poorer neighborhoods have prevailed.
The 30 of October of 1998, Hurricane Mitch devastated the capital, along with the rest of Honduras. Over five days, Mitch hit the country, causing devastating landslides and floods, killing thousands of people, as well as heavy deforestation and the destruction of thousands of homes. A part of Comayagüela was destroyed along with several neighborhoods on both sides of the Honduran capital. After the hurricane, the infrastructure in Tegucigalpa was severely cut off. Even 12 years later, the remains of Hurricane Mitch could still be seen especially on the banks of the Choluteca River.
Tegucigalpa continues the expansion beyond its colonial nucleus: towards the east, south and west, creating a great metropolis, but disorganized. In an effort to modernize the capital, increase its infrastructure and improve the quality of life of its residents, the administration has approved several ordinances and projects to reverse the city in a few years.
There are several conventional tourist attractions in Tegucigalpa. Some places of interest include:
- La Leona Park
- The Metropolitan Cathedral
- The former Presidential Palace (now a museum)
- The Museum of National Identity
- The National University
- The Basilica of the Virgin of Suyapa
- La Tigra National Park
- Cerro Picacho and its zoo
- Chiminike (a science park and museum for children).
There are several charming colonial towns within walking distance of Tegucigalpa: Santa Lucía (12 km away), Valle de Angeles (21 km away), Ojojona, Yuscarán and San Juancito. Each has its own distinctive character and sense of history and they all make easy day trips out of town.
By the city
Tegucigalpa, as a colonial city, has several neighborhoods in the oldest districts of the city and Comayagüela, and colonies in the new ones. None of them have well-defined boundaries or even a center. There are a few boulevards, none of which go into the city center. As in most Central American cities, there doesn’t seem to be so much rhyme or reason as to how the streets are named, so orientation and driving becomes quite difficult for new visitors to the city.
Colonia Palmira, a wealthy neighborhood, east of the city center on Morazán Boulevard, is home to many of the foreign embassies, as well as upscale restaurants. Lomas del Guijarro, Loma Linda, Tepeyac, San Ignacio and El Hatillo are exclusive neighborhoods that are home to most of the apartment complexes in the city, as well as the main hotels. These include: Marriott Hotel, Hotel Clarion, Hotel El Centenario, Intercontinental, Maya Honduras, Plaza del Libertador, Plaza San Martín, Alameda Hotel, Hotel Excelsior and the Casino.
The fastest way to get from one part of the city to the other is through the Quinto Centenario ring road, which covers the eastern side of the city. Tegucigalpa is also connected to the national highway, where one can go north (towards San Pedro Sula), south (towards Nicaragua); there are other exits to nearby towns. It is communicated with the rest of the country and abroad by various paved roads. The main one goes to the north of the country, another to the south -connecting with the Inter-American Highway- and a third to the east.
Toncontin International Airport serves as the main airport inside and outside of Tegucigalpa. The airport is often criticized for being dangerous, due to its location next to a mountain range, its short runway and difficult access. Large commercial aircraft are required to make a sharp turn near the left at a very low altitude to land on the short runway. Airline pilots flying to Toncontin International must receive additional training, specific to approaching Toncontin. Efforts have been made over the years to replace the Toncontin airport with an airport in Palmerola, in Comayagua. The Soto Cano air base was selected for this purpose. Former President Manuel Zelaya announced in 2008, that all commercial flights could be transferred to the Soto Cano air base, but in 2009 the work of the new terminal in Soto Cano was canceled, after Zelaya was removed from his position on June 28, 2009 in the coup de coup in Honduras. Toncontín has been enhanced by the work of the Tegucigalpa Airport Corporation, which is owned by TACA of El Salvador, and by InterAirports, a company contracted by the Honduran government to manage the country’s four airports. International flights continue to operate to and from Toncon.