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 Nicaragua Cities: León
Cuidad Universitaria

León possesses pretty cool and interesting places to visit including volcanoes, beaches, ecotourism areas and not to forget sightseeings around this awesome city.


León City, nicknamed "Ciudad Universitaria" (Intellectual City. It was home to the first university in the country), once had two privilages that its colonial rival Granada yearned, but unfortunately for the "leoneses", their city lost both privilages.

Founded in 1524, León City was the capital of the country for more than three-hundred years. That privilage was always yeared by its sister city and long time rival Granada because they were the better city. León later lost that privilage but not to its rival, but to the current capital, Managua. However, the other privilage, they did lose it to Granada. If León wouldn't have been relocated to its current site, due to an eruption by the Momotombo Volcano, it would be the oldest city in the American Continent. However, it was relocated so it lost that privilage to Granada, being founded just weeks after León back in 1524.


 SIGHTSEEINGS
During those colonial years, the Spaniards did some serious constructing. Of course, good part of those constructions were churches and cathedrals, in order to spread their religion. For whatever reason, they did an amazing job. Most of these remarkable buildings remain almost untouched by the years and that give the city and its streets a beautiful antique, colonial look full with rich history.

As mentioned before, the Spaniards mostly buit churches in this city reaching up to a point that León is considered the city with the most colonial churches, in Central America.

One of those churches is the majestic León Cathedral (left), an architectural jewel in the center of the city. This cathedral is in fact largest one in Central America. Is is here is where the great Nicaraguan poet Rubén Darío was buried. "La Recolección" Cathedral (right) is another important one and is one of the most ornate ones in the city.

A tour of this city should also include visiting other important and outsanding buildings. For instance, the cathedrals "El Calvario" (left), "La Merced" (right) and "San Juan Bautista de Subtiava". Also, a visit to The San Ramón School is important because this was the first school/university established in the country.

Unfortunately, I don't have more pictures of this great city. But, trust me, I will get more soon.


 BEACHES, VOLCANO & ECO-TOURISM
León can also satisfy those visitors who enjoy Mother Nature's gifts, in this case, volcanoes, eco-tourism sites and the awesome beaches.

In the province of León, there are a few options for those who like climbing volcanoes. Located 20KM N.E. of the city, Cerro Negro Volcano is a pretty easy volcano to climb because it's only 675 meters high and it has a road leading to the top. Once at the top, its crater can be appreciated while it emits gases.

A few kilometers north of the city, there is the San Jacinto Hot Springs. Here, people can take advantage of the so called "magic mud", resulting from the vapor coming out of one of the craters of the Telica Volcano. This mud is thought to be very good for the skin.


Eco-tourism can be enjoyed in the Juan Venado Island. By taking a short boat ride, an ecotourist can tour the island and enjoy bird-watching, the rest of fauna and of course, the freshness of the rich flora surrounding the island.


For those beach goers, there is a couple of options. There's Poneloya Beach, the preferred beach by the León people and one of the best places in the country to practice water sports, especially surfing. There's also "Las Peñitas" beach, right next to Poneloya. This is a noticeably quieter beach than its neighbor, mostly visited by the local fishermen. Las Peñitas does have big and continuous waves, but Poneloya's reputation overshadows the potential of this beach to become a surfing destination. Other beaches in the province of León are: El Tránsito and El Velero.


 "LEON VIEJO"
As stated before, the current location of León is not its original one. In 1610, the original city was completely abandoned due to an eruption by the Momotombo Volcano. The ruins of that original site is now known as "León Viejo" (Old León), which is now part of a little town called "Puerto Momotombo", on the northwestern shores of Lake Managua.

After being forgotten for more than three and a half centuries, León Viejo was re-discovered in 1967 and in 2000, it became worldwide recognized when U.N.E.S.C.O (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) declared it an archeological, cultural and historical site important to humankind history.

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