Spain's Queen Sofia on Thursday strolled through a formerly neglected, crime-ridden section of the Guatemalan capital restored with Spanish aid funds.

The third day of the queen's visit to the Central American country is devoted to cultural cooperation and, within that framework, the queen visited the Cultural Center of Spain located in the old Cine Lux theater, which functions as the focal point for the recovery of the zone.

Its modern installations include an Art Deco building where activities are held that attract between 100 and 300 local residents per day.

The queen walked along the avenue connecting the old theater with Constitution Square, where the National Palace of Culture is located.

Awaiting her there was Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina to take part in an event to recognize the work undertaken by Spain's AECID development agency over the last 25 years to preserve Guatemala's cultural patrimony.

In a solemn ceremony, the president presented the National Order of Cultural Patrimony to AECID, represented by Spain's secretary of state for cooperation and Ibero-America, Jesus Gracia.

Perez Molina emphasized in a speech that Spanish cultural technical cooperation is helping his country move forward with the restoration of archaeological enclaves like the Maya city of Tikal.

The president said that Spain is a "friend" and "great ally" of Guatemala, and in the name of all Guatemalans he thanked Madrid for the great cultural legacy its cooperation had left in the Central American country. EFE