This handsome Saint Francis Gate is one of two entrances into the Church and Convent of San Francisco. Sections of San Francisco el Grande date from the late 16th century. They are the oldest in Antigua Guatemala. In 1541, Franciscan missionaries arrived in the Panchoy Valley, two years before the Spanish Empire declared the area as their new capital. An oscillation pattern of building and destruction plagued the complex until the existing church was finished in 1702 and consecrated in 1714. After being ruined by the Santa Marta Earthquakes in 1773, it was vacant for almost two hundred years. In 1960, the Franciscans returned and began restoration efforts. Mass and other Catholic services are again performed inside the church. Although the nave is attractive, it pales in comparison to the lavish appearance from the late 18th century.