The Mercedarians were the first to establish a male monastery at the former Santiago de Guatemala. The cross in stone at the atrium and the rooms behind the main altar are the oldest structures in La Merced and date from the seventeenth century.
In 1749 Juan de Dios Estrada was commissioned with the construction of the luxurious sanctuary and cloister. He erected a building of low height designed to withstand earthquakes based on the experiences of the tremor of 1751. Arches and columns are wider to cope with the quakes. It was opened in 1767.