The country's largest city, Guatemala City has a gritty, fast-paced allure. Nicknamed Guate, this city is in a state of flux, reinventing itself as an upbeat, tourist-friendly hub complete with pedestrian zones and a plethora of art, culture and culinary institutions. The city's Pre-Columbian past can be traced to 1500 BCE in Kaminaljuyu on its outskirts. Known for its unique adobe architecture and earthen construction, this ancient city was a Mesoamerican epicenter of art, architecture and language, though it later lay abandoned. During the Spanish era, the Guatemala City as we know it today began evolving, and post colonial independence it became the region's capital. The imposing Catedral Metropolitana, Palacio Nacional and Plaza Mayor de la Constitucion offer glimpses of the city's development into a vibrant metropolis.