The Cathedral of Leon should be a must see when you are in Nicaragua. As an architect I loved this site and really appreciated the stories behind the historic architectural design. The Cathedral was constructed between 1747 and the early 19th century and most of it's historical integrity is original. It's the largest cathedral in Central America, and was designed to withstand the earthquakes. I could write more about the architecture, but would suggest the UNESCO site where they describe it accurately enough for an expert or hobbyist.
Side note: the famous poet Rubén Darío has a tomb here, and he seems to be extremely (underlined) popular among all the Nicaraguans. He also has a home in Leon which has been turned into a museum, another great historical place to see in Leon.
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Catedral de León, Nicaragua
El año pasado, la Unesco ha declarado a la Basílica Catedral de la Asunción de la ciudad de León antigua capital de Nicaragua como Patrimonio Cultural de la Humanidad. En ella yace en su interior la tumba del escritor “Rubén Dario” máximo exponente del modernismo de la lengua hispana, así como otros 27 personajes ilustres. La Catedral posee una característica única y singular del barroco erguida en 1747; siendo actualmente una de las más grandes de Centroamérica, a mi parecer es icónica ya que pese a los temblores y la proximidad de los volcanes Momotombo y Cerro Negro sus muros siguen en pie.
Before I even bought a ticket to Nicaragua, I was told that I absolutely could not miss Semana Santa. Known as Holy Week in English, Semana Santa is a week filled with religious rituals, traditional processions and some serious partying.
Even if you're not religious, the street art for Semana Santa is pretty impressive. Here in Leon, where I've spent the first few days of celebration, you'll find the streets decorated with "alfombras decorativas" -- depictions of Bible passages made from colored sawdust. If you knew how hot it was here (90 some degrees, with 37% humidity), you'd have respect for anyone that withstood a day in the heat, sun reflecting off of the pavement to create one of these.