Hagatna, Guam’s Capital

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Hagatna lies on the western edge of Guam and serves as a home for its government, making it an important commercial hub.

Hagatna offers an insightful glimpse into Guam’s diverse history and culture. Dotted with remnants from over four millennia of history — Chamorro latte stones to Spanish-era buildings– it provides a window into Guam’s past.

Hagatna History

Hagatna (Chamorro: aga; Spanish: Agana) served as Guam’s capital from the 18th through the mid-20th century. Though now one of 19 villages in Guam in terms of area and population, it still retains central commercial districts and government services and features several historic sites.

The Lujan House was constructed in 1911, making it one of Guam’s oldest structures. At first used for private residential purposes before becoming home for Nievas M. Flores’ Guam Institute – established as a school by him and closed during Japan’s occupation and subsequent recapture by American forces after World War II.

At Skinner Plaza lies the Guam Museum – owned and run by the government of Guam – dedicated to Guam’s history. It bears Senator Antonio M. Palomo’s name, who tirelessly advocated for its preservation.

At Aspinall Street and Route 1 stands a single-span, arched bridge made of stone abutments dating back to 1800 when Governor Manuel Muro of Spain administered it, under his administration named for San Antonio de Padua. It crossed over the Hagatna River until its course changed after World War II when Hagatna Village was rebuilt – after which the bridge was listed on the National Register of Historic Sites as a National Treasure on September 6, 1974.

The Latte Stone Park is a historical park consisting of eight latte stones from other parts of the island to their current home in Hagatna. Once used to support houses in the Me’pu and Fena regions, these latte stones are now part of its foundation.

Hagatna was severely damaged during Japan’s invasion of Guam in 1942, suffering severe bombing damage to residential and public structures. Following the American retaking of the territory in 1946, however, Hagatna became once more the capital, and many historic structures were restored or rebuilt – such as Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral Basilica that had been previously destroyed during bombing of American bombardments of Guam; its church stands next to Plaza de Espana and Azotea (“Back Porch” – two remnants of Spain’s governor palace which still exist as part of original Spanish governor palace that dates back centuries ago.

Hagatna Architecture

Hagatna Village lies at the center of Guam. It serves as a home for its government (Judicial, Legislative, and Executive branches), the religious center of Catholicism, as well as the commercial hub for various legal offices, banks, department/variety stores, insurance, technical and professional services, and restaurants – not to mention historical sites and cultural resources that reside here.

Hagatna underwent numerous improvements during its Spanish period, such as the construction of a hospital and entertainment venues such as Plaza de Espana. Once Spain ceded their power after the Spanish-American War in 1899, Hagatna continued as the seat of government and thrived rapidly.

Hagatna remains one of the island’s less densely populated villages regarding residential population yet remains its center for government, commerce, and trade. Additionally, its historical and cultural legacy is integral to its identity.

Hagatna’s Agana River Bridge, built during Governor Manuel Muro’s time and named after San Antonio de Padua, stands as a landmark. Spanning Hagatna River once provided vital water supplies for its village residents. On its eastern side stands La Sirena – Guam’s legendary Mermaid.

Fanmanalaba Cathedral Basilica was initially used to worship the sun god; upon completion, it became the first Catholic Church on the island and was dedicated to Mary in 1949, later receiving its current name – which honors Pope John Paul II – in 1981.

Hagatna boasts another historic landmark: The Mesa House on Maxwell St. was designed and built by architect Pedro T. Toves and constructed with ifil hardwood. This house represents the Pacific Spanish-Colonial vernacular architecture style.

The Guam Congress Building is a historic structure that serves as a home for the Guam Legislature. Situated in Chalan Santo Papa, Hagatna, and built-in 1949 by the Pacific Islanders Building Company, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977.

Hagatna Shopping

Hagatna is an active business hub, home to law offices, banks, department/variety stores, insurance providers, professional services providers, and numerous professional services providers. Additionally, Guam’s government sits here. Visitors across the island come here due to its central location and historic sites that draw in customers.

The village of Agana Heights is situated between Agana Bay’s sandy beaches and Hagatna River and associated wetlands to its northern border and an isolated cliff (above which sits Agana Heights village). Several high-rise office buildings and a public library (formally Nieves M. Flores Memorial Library) are within its boundaries.

Hagatna Shopping Center, one of the island’s largest malls, opened in 1978 in downtown Hagatna and features duty-free items at Agana Shopping Center – it even has its own Sky Zone trampoline park! Agana also houses five theatres known as Agana Center Stadium Theatres that are designed with actual stadium seating capacity as well as five theatres known for Agana Center Stadium Theatres; GameStop stores and an SM Store popular among locals as tenants, along with a supermarket!

Agana offers more than shops. There are also many dining options here, some at the waterfront, where you can sample some of the island’s finest Chamorro and American cuisine. Village visitors will also find the Chamorro Cultural Village, which presents modern island culture. Its Wednesday Night Market draws crowds every week for its variety of food stalls and crafts vendors selling food and merchandise; souvenir shops also can be found nearby. Hagatna offers an ideal tranquil alternative to Tumon’s nonstop entertainment, boasting remnants from Guam’s rich 4,000-year history ranging from ancient Chamorro Latte periods through war and occupation. Although only about 1,000 people reside there today, Hagatna remains an integral part of Guam’s capital, serving as a cultural, civic, and commercial district with much to offer visitors.

Hagatna Restaurants

Hagatna is a small yet vibrant city in Guam with only about 1,000 residents, perfect for exploring Guam’s heritage, culture, and traditions without the hustle and bustle of the Tumon tourist district. Furthermore, Hagatna serves up shopping and dining options ranging from traditional Chamorro dishes to burgers and fries for every palette imaginable – with something for every visitor here in Hagatna!

Hagatna begins with a stroll through its historic city center. Here, you’ll witness remnants of Guam’s rich 4,000-year history from its Latte period through colonization and war. Don’t miss Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral-Basilica as an outstanding example of Spanish architecture, while Plaza de Espaa hosts a replica of Guam’s original governor’s palace.

Head next door to the Guam Museum to gain insight into Guam’s natural and cultural history. Here, you can understand its unique flora, fauna, and ancient Chamorro artifacts. Following your tour, cruise through Hagatna Bay for breathtaking views of Hagatna and nearby islands.

Hagatna’s food scene is legendary, so it should come as no surprise that Hagatna offers an array of tempting eateries ranging from traditional Chamorro cuisine to Japanese, Korean, Chinese, and Thai offerings. There’s genuinely something delicious available here for every palette! For a truly memorable experience, visit Alfredo’s Steakhouse at Dusit Thani Guam Resort for something outstanding: their top-of-the-line steakhouse features crisp salads, raw bar selection, and high-end Japanese A5 Wagyu beef cuts!

Da Local Grindhouse offers traditional Chamorro fare in generous portions at their family-run eatery. Their famous beef kelaguen and barbecue chicken dishes are particularly delectable, plus combo platters with red rice, cole slaw, and their homemade barbecue sauce – make sure to call ahead and reserve a table!