Called the "center of all Guatemala," the Plaza Mayor brings together the great powers of Guatemalan society: the government, the church, the army, and the people. It consists of two large plazas, the Parque del Centenario with its central fountain, and the Plaza de las Armas, intended as a military parade ground. The Plaza Mayor was first laid out and designed in 1778, just 2 years after the city was founded. The impressive buildings surrounding the plaza include the Catedral Metropolitana, the Palacio Nacional, and the National Library. Next to the Guatemalan flag in front of the Palacio Nacional burns an Eternal Flame dedicated to the "anonymous heroes of peace." Crowds gather here to celebrate holidays, protest, and sell their goods. The makeshift market here is busiest on Sundays, when vendors offer a wide variety of crafts at reasonable prices, though you might be able to find better deals in the small towns along Lake Atitlán or in Quetzaltenango. While the Plaza Mayor and its surrounding buildings still exude a strong air of colonial charm, I find the placement of a Wendy's franchise right on the corner by the Catedral Metropolitana a little off-putting.