December 27, 2011: On our third day in Nicaragua, we explored the ruins of Viejo Leon (Old Leon) and two neighborhoods of the contemporary city. Viejo Leon is about an hours drive from Leon, near the shore of Lake Managua. During the drive and throughout the day, we got enlightening commentary on contemporary Nicaraguan politics and society from our guide.
Francisco Hernandez de Cordova, who founded the first city of Leon in 1524, and was executed in 1526. His name is given to the Nicaraguan currency.
Representation of an Indian rebel, who with 17 of his comrades was torn to pieces by fierce dogs for opposing the Spanish.
Part of the base of the foundry, where gold objects were melted into standard bars.
Corner of interior walls of the Church of La Merced.
Branches of the strange jicaro tree, which bears hard-walled fruit directly on its branches.
After driving back to Leon and having lunch, we were guided on a city tour. Our first stop was Sutiaba, the birthplace of our guide, who is very proud of its long history (it was settled by indigenous peoples long before Leon was located here) and independent spirit.
Two photos of young inhabitants of Sutiaba, taken as we began our walk.
Ruins of an old church, built in the 16th C and destroyed in the earthquake accompanying a volcanic eruption in 1835.
Mural depicting the encounter between the indigenous and Catholic religions.
Interior of the current Catholic church in the Sutiaba neighborhood.
Part of a very large mural (about 1/2 block long) about contemporary life in Sutiaba - this part depicting the environmental impacts of the water cycle.
The roof of the Cathedral in central Leon.
One of a pair of Atlases supporting the beam that supports the bell - one of many bells of the Cathedral, this one rung only a few times a year on special occasions.
View from the top of the Cathedral over Leon toward the chain of volcanoes.
Soccer game in front of a mural depicting the murderous attack by army troops on university students in 1959.