Established in 1626, the Jesuit monastery and college was a vital component of Antigua life until the order was expelled in 1767; just six years later, the great earthquake left it in ruins. Rescued from the rubble by the Spanish government, the complex has been reborn as a cultural center, the Centro de Formación de la Cooperación Española.
The former offices, classrooms and refectories now contain lecture halls, exhibit spaces, a fashionable cafe and an excellent library. The three cloisters have been made over with fine wood columns and balconies, a brilliant setting for photo exhibits, concerts, films and festivals. One component remains respectfully unrestored, though: the Compañía de Jesús church, the grand facade of which stands to the left of the main entrance of the complex.