The city of Leon is located northeast at 93 Kilometers from Managua. With Granada, this city shared the capital of Nicaragua until 1852 .You will see its colonial legacy in most of its old or antiques buildings and churches.
The first place you should visit is, the cathedral, considered as the most important and outstanding colonial building in Central America .Its walls are decorated with oleos and frescos of great artistic value. One more thing you should not miss is its magnificent altar.
At the entrance you will find six engraved lions decorating the atrium and fountain located in the very center of the church plaza. Some prominent Nicaraguan men are buried below its Arches.
Among them Ruben Dario, the great Nicaraguan Poet and highest exponent of the castellan language. Its tomb is located next to San Pablo’s statue. Afterwards you may visit Dario’s museum, where he lived during his childhood. Later on this house became Alfonso Cortez residency, one of the greatest metaphysic poets in Latin America. Many original artifacts and documents can be seen in this place.
The National University is worth seeing too. This visit to Leon should include a tour of its many churches. Among them are: Subtiava, La Recoleccion, La Merced, San Francisco, and El Calvario. Other buildings with architectonic and historic importance are: The Episcopal Palace, San Ramon School (once the site of the first University in Leon), and the Municipal Theatre. The main celebrations take place on September 24th (Virgen de las Mercedes), and December 7th La Purisima or Griteria.
During Easter, Leon’s streets are decorated with religious sawdust rugs. On January Leon celebrates a significative Cultural Festival. Back to Managua you should take a turnout in order to see Leon Viejo ruins, at only 30 Kilometers south of Leon. This was Leon’s original site, abandoned in the 16th century due to a volcanic eruption of the Momotombo Volcano.
These ruins were discovered in the 1960’s and declared, as World Site Heritage by UNESCO in the 1990’s. At 22 Kilometers of Leon (heading from Telica to Esteli), you will find the San Jacinto’s Hot Springs which come from a Telica Volcano underground river.