The Colonial City of Leon

The Colonial City of Leon

The city of León was until 1851 the capital of the country. They have the biggest cathedral of Central America. The hearsay is that the plans were mixed up in their way from Spain when the cathedral was to be built. The plans used in León were originally for a cathedral in Lima, the capital of Peru. There are plenty of other churches from the colonial era.

The whole city has preserved the old architecture with one-store houses with tiled roofing. The houses have a high ceiling and are constructed around a yard with plants, which makes the houses cool even though the climate is extremely hot. Rubén Darío, one of the front poets in the Hispanic literature during last century, had his home in the city and is buried in the cathedral. Of course there is a museum to honor him.

León is situated in a very fertile area where the main crop used to be cotton. Now it is almost all gone. Since cotton is cultivated with heavy use of poison that destroys the soil, it has been very difficult to replace it with other crops. After several years as fallow fields, they have now begun to grow beans, soya bean and corn.

Another important crop is sugarcane. One product distilled from the sugar is rum. Flor de Caña close to Chinandega produces rum of a very high quality. If you are coming in a group it is possible to visit the distillery and see the whole process. Around Chinandega they also cultivate bananas for export.