Gracias is one the oldest cities in Honduras. Founded in 1536 and located in the highlands of Western Honduras it offers a well preserved colonial architecture that includes beautiful churches, buildings and cobblestone streets. Gracias played a very significant role during colonial times as a mining center and as the Real Audience of the Confines in 1544 a high colonial tribunal in charge of applying colonial law, collecting taxes, human rights and distributing land to the colonizers.
Gracias served as the center from where the Spaniards organized the conquest of Western Honduras. Cacique Lempira which means Lord of the Mountains organized the Indian resistance against the Spaniards. Lempira was able to unify the different Lenca tribes under a massive army that was close to defeating the Spaniards. According to the legend the Spanish recurred to treason to be able to defeat Lempira although new found documents in the Spanish archives say that Lempira was defeated in hand to hand combat against Rodrigo Diaz. Every year Day of Lempira is proudly celebrated in Gracias to honor the first defender of our national sovereignty against a foreign invader. The celebrations is famous throughout Honduras and attract thousands of visitors to the City.
After the Independence from Spain the City lost a lot of the former influence although it briefly served as Honduras capital in the 1863 under President Jose Maria Medina. During Medina administration the Saint Cristobal Fort was built to honor his friend and former Honduras President Juan Lindo who was buried at the Fort.
In 1915 a earthquake destroyed most of the city forcing the locals to move temporarily to El Refugio Village after a few years they returned to the City to begin reconstruction.
Today the city preserves its small town feel. Gracianos are very friendly people and the visitor can expect to be greeted on the streets and be offered help if they are lost or if they ask for directions to a place.
Gracias offers many attractions including warm springs, sight seeing, hiking, cultural tours and it just a few kilometers form the City is Mount Celaque National Park the tallest mountain in Honduras that is home to many endangered species including the elusive quetzal, monkeys, tapirs, etc, beautiful cascades and exotic orchids.
The current populations is about 30,000 people. The city is very safe and there are several nice hotels and restaurants with all of the amenities including satellite TV, wireless internet access, hot water, air conditioning etc.