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Cathedral of León
Posted by: HoboSylvain | 2014-08-18 20:09:10 | Leon, Leon, Nicaragua
Keywords: architecture, church, Colonial, UNESCO
The second UNESCO site in Nicaragua is also in León, it's the imposing cathedral. This imposing structure is the largest cathedral in Central America and was used as base model to make the cathedral of Lima, in Peru. It's a complex mix of Spanish design integrating local materials, design and art.

The current building is the fourth incarnation of the cathedral. The very first one was completed in 1610 after the abandon of Leon Viejo, was a modest structure and was quickly replaced by a wood and adobe structure in 1624. Another wood and adobe structure was made after the previous one had been totally burned by pirate William Dumpier in 1685.

Inside the cathedral

The construction of the current building began in 1747 and it took almost a century to complete. It was worth the wait!

Amongst the design cateristics we find thick massive walls taking into account the seismic activity of the volcano-dense area. It's also important to note that most of the art inside is from local artists, not imported from Europe. The fact the area gained its independence in 1821 while the cathedral was not finished is also a factor in the art selection.

There are more beautiful churches within a few blocks of the cathedral, but this white elephant imposes its presence in the centre of the city.

A view of the roof.

One of the specificity of the building is its public access. By paying US$5 tickets you can visit the basement or access the roof. I'm not too fond of small basements so I didn't go see the thumbs in there. But I went on the roof. The roof itself is very spectacular with its light openings and domes. You can walk almost all the perimeter of the roof, giving you access to view all the city around the cathedral.

Its imposing structure and mixture of architecture gave to this building a place amongst the UNESCO World Heritage list in 2011.

Related posts:
Ouro Preto
Modern Ensemble of Pampulha
Panama Viejo and Casco Viejo
León Viejo


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