Decided to spend some time exploring the Cathedral of the Assumption in downtown Leon, Nicaragua today and very glad I did. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of those places that has an aura onto itself. If you’ve ever walked by it, you’ll know what I mean. Was out and about last night briefly and when walking by, just stood there staring at it for awhile, it’s a brilliant building and the largest cathedral in not just Nicaragua but Central America.
The Cathedral of the Assumption took roughly 67 years to build from 1747 to 1814 and was consecrated by Pope Pius IX in 1860. Guatemalan architects Diego José of Porres and Esquivel were in charge of the design of this massive building. One could go on forever but I suggest you click this link to read more on the topic. Will note that underneath the cathedral there are crypts original built for earthquake protection and the tombs of 27 people including 10 bishops and 5 priests as well as 6 notable slaves. There used to be tunnels between the major churches but when the sewer system was implemented, they were all closed off. One of the tunnels was used by a priest who saved the treasures from when the English Pirates invaded.
I am going to let the pictures tell the story but I will say that if you do go, pay the $2 to get access to the roof. Seriously, pay the $2 and get up on that roof even if you don’t explore the cathedral, get on that roof. Once you’ve made it to the top you can see the entire city as well as the surrounding volcanoes, one of them is smoking as I write this. There is a photo in the early 1900’s of the church, sometime later they added the bells you see today and these great sculptures of gents acting as support. If you’re quite keen like I was, pay another $2 and you get a tour of the crypts. There isn’t much to see in the crypts but a lot to feel if that makes sense.
If you’re in Leon, take the time to explore this cathedral, it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site for a reason and one of the more memorable buildings I’ve had the pleasure of visiting on this tour around the world. Also all the money raised goes towards helping preserve the structure, if you go into the crypts, you’ll see there are some major cracks forming. Also while you’re there pay attention to the murals on the walls, they’re exceptionally done.
P.S: The photo below is a sketch of a photo taken in 190X.