Tuesday, December 20, 2016

León Viejo, Nicaragua, el diecinueve de deciembre, 2016

After a great sleep and breakfast, I wandered around León, and wouldn't you know it but la Catedral was open.  It was built for the last time between 1747 and 1814 and is the largest Catedral in Central America.  It is a combination of Baroque, Neoclassicism, Gothic, Renaissance and Mudejar styles so is classed in Eclecticism style!


There is a large nativity scene too-


Further along I came to la Iglesia San Juan de Dios, built in the 1850s-


I decided to hop on a chicken bus, or 2 or 3 or 4! to go to León Viejo.  3 hours there and back on public transport was hot and long, although the return trip was quicker - no waiting for the bus to fill up.

Christopher Columbus arrived in Nicaragua in 1502 in the Santa Maria-


But it wasn't until 1524 that León de Natrando was founded by Francisco Hernandez de Córdoba.  He settled in the area thanks to the Governor of Darien in Panama.  Reed and straw huts were the first buildings, later adobe walls with thatched or tile roofs and then finally brick walls and clay tile roofs were used following the style of Spain.  Today, all that remains are foundations.  It wasn't until 1967 that León Viejo was discovered because the pueblo had been covered up by ash and dirt from numerous volcano explosions and earthquakes-


The city was inhabited for only 86 years, abandoned in 1610 because of a shortage of labor, scarcity of trade, the extinction of gold mines, numerous tremors and a giant earthquake.  Sounds like quite a few good reasons to me!

The palace was 1457 square meters-


Town hall was 513 square meters-


Our Lady of Mercy Church had masses 2 or 3 times/Sunday.  Just in the year 2000, bones were discovered in the crypt, presumably those of Captain Francisco Hernandez de Córdoba and the Governor of Panama, Pedrarias Devila-


The lookout tower faced Lake Managua and Momotombo Volcano-


About 15,000 people lived here and what I find so interesting is that it is such a recent find.  It makes me realize that there are many, many archaeological sites everywhere just waiting to be discovered!

The nearby village of Puerto Momotombo has dirt/ash/sand streets.  Homes do have power but it is a very laid back and quiet place-


Tomorrow I hope to visit a couple of art galleries then head to the beach!


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