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Sights and sites visited by a single man exploring the world at human speed.
|Posted by: HoboSylvain | 2014-08-14 20:02:51 | Puerto Momotombo, Leon, Nicaragua|
Keywords: Colonial, UNESCO
|Nicaragua has only two UNESCO World Heritage sites, both of them related to Leon, the historic former capital of the country. This first site was the first location of the city on the Western shore of the Managua lake. The original city had a very short but very troubled history. In 85 years of existence, it has known more than its share of both human and natural disasters.|
Founded in 1524 by the Spanish explorer
Francisco Hernández de Córdoba as a major trading post where
transited gold, precious woods and slaves. The territory was
occupied by the Chorotega Indians but their peaceful farming society
was easily subdued by the Spaniards.
The city peaked a mere 20 years later
before beginning a tortured and quick descent into hell. In 1545 it
was still a small town with about 200 Spaniards living in brick
buildings and some 15 000 Indians living in wooden and hay
But corruption was everywhere in the
administration of the city and the ruling cast treated very poorly
the people from lower ranks. In addition to imposing the Catholic
faith onto the locals, the offenders, slaves and poor performance
workers were often placed on the central plaza to be attacked by
trained dogs. The event was not only a warning for the others not to
rebel or stray away from the right path and also a form of
entertainment for the rich.
Statue representing the oppression by religion and trained attack dogs.
The poor administration led to major
inflation which caused the rich to go elsewhere to gain more money.
Many poor fled too to be able to live and feed themselves. When the
Momotombo volcano erupted in 1578, it destroyed most of the city and
buried most of structures.
Only ten houses were still in use by
1603 by a small group of families. The rest was already in ruins or
covered by the ashes. In 1610 there was a major earthquake which
destroyed these last structures and the city was abandoned. The city
was displaced to the current location of León.
The ruins were forgotten and remained
untouched until the first excavations in 1967. Because it is a
unique site that presents the architecture of very early Spanish
settlements in America with the original early 16th century buildings
(not modified in anyway by repairs through the years) the site was
added to the World Heritage list in year 2000. The site is small but
relatively well arranged and your admission price of US$5 includes
the service of a guide who gives you all the information during the
45 minutes visit of the museums and the ruins.
One of the small museums on the site.
Panama Viejo and Casco Viejo
Cathedral of León
Modern Ensemble of Pampulha
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