Apart from Mexico, the countries of Central America have only one or two cultural world heritage sites each, hence the rather frantic country-hopping I’ve currently indulging in. So, after two days in El Salvador, one of which was entirely dedicated to sorting out my forthcoming travel plans, I moved on to Nicaragua. I’d booked Managua-bound a coach through my hostel which turned out to be much plusher than I’d expected. Not only were meals served (it was twelve-hour journey) but the two border crossings (the journey requires a couple of hours in Honduras) were to a large extent handled for us. This did mean we all had to hand over our passports to the stewardess to take away for stamping, which the Foreign Office would probably disapprove of, but it was nicely unstressful.
I was heading for the small town of Leon, so the bus dropped me at a road junction and from there I had a three-hour chicken bus ride in the dark to my destination. It wasn’t very comfy but I was delighted to avoid another scary sounding capital city.
The mid-eighteenth to early nineteenth century cathedral of Leon is the largest in Central America. The squat towers are a response to the earthquake-prone nature of the region.
UNESCO have this to say about it: “León Cathedral exceptionally illustrates the Antigua Guatemala Baroque architectural style and, in its combination of Spanish art and regional features, shaped by the geographical environment and the groups that supported its erection, is a material expression of the formation of the Latin American society.”
To be honest, if you’ve visited as many Baroque cathedrals as I did in Spain and Portugal earlier this year, it does not seem that outstanding an edifice. But UNESCO listing is also about the intangible cultural aspects, as mentioned above, not just the physical appearance.
Since the visit did not take too long, I had plenty of time to craft a Lego model that I hope does the facade justice.