Francisco Hernandez of Cordoba.

The current city of León, with its long and outlined streets, is an important urban center where a valuable historical heritage gathers, a permanent cultural, political, intellectual and academic task.

The religious fervor, the simplicity and kindness of its people, the imposing volcanoes and its beautiful coasts make this municipality one of the largest tourist destinations in Nicaragua.

León Viejo, the primitive capital of Nicaragua, was founded in June 1524 by Francisco Hernández de Córdoba, as lieutenant of Pedrarias Dávila, governor of Castilla de Oro (today Panama). The city was built on a slightly elevated plain, on the shores of Lake Xolotlán, a short distance from the Momotombo volcano.

The history of the town was full of bloody and tragic events. Its founder was beheaded by Pedrarias Dávila in the town square, two years after founding it (1526); he also sentenced to death 18 rebel caciques of the Olocotón Valley, who were dismembered by hungry dogs in 1528. In 1549, the Contreras brothers, grandsons of Pedrarias, stabbed Bishop Antonio Valdivieso to death.

UNAN leon_cultura14A great earthquake forced the permanent transfer of the population to its current site, on January 16, 1610, during the XNUMXth century, the most important nucleus of the city was built. It was the political, social and economic center of the colonial era and also during the beginning of the republic. Headquarters of the first Autonomous University of Nicaragua, UNAN, Alma Mater of national and Central American leaders.

Since independence from Spain in 1821, it was the country's cultural and university city and, together with Granada, controlled the rest of the national territory politically, economically, socially and militarily.

In 1979, León was the first capital of the Sandinista Revolution, when the Governing Board of National Reconstruction settled in this city. León was proclaimed as the provisional capital until the liberation of Managua on July 20 of the same year.

This municipality has artists and artisans who make different crafts and products based on leather and clay to promote them at fairs.

Very representative of the Leonese culture is the gigantic, folkloric expression that has its greatest representation in December. Its huge pieces are made in family and traditional workshops.

All the  Sawdust carpet During Holy Week they can be seen in the Sutiaba neighborhood, on the “carpet street”. The ephemeral art of colored sawdust carpets is organized in the streets as part of the religious activities dedicated to the Holy Burial. There are about 40 families who dedicate themselves to this activity once a year, representing images of the Passion of Christ, the Holy Supper, the Heart of Jesus or passages from the Bible.

Artistic expressions. Music and dance.

Carnival de Myths and legends: It has been carried out since 1993 where the characters of local legends materialize: the nagua cart, the witch pig, Tola's girlfriend, the snake woman, the headless father, the quirina death, the cegua, the woman in white and the bell siren. To these are added the cultural expressions of the indigenous community of Sutiaba such as the guaco bull and the mantudos. The cegua: It goes out at night in the neighborhoods of León, it is feared by drinkers, they affirm that it has a well-defined goal: to chase the ruffians, punish them with blows, scratches, pinches and hair pulling.

He dresses in guarumo leaves, his hair is long and made of cabuya, with teeth covered with green banana peels that make his voice hollow and cavernous. It communicates through long, high-pitched whistles.


The Nagua cart.

The golden punch: It comes out in the ruins of the Church of Veracruz, in the Sutiaba neighborhood and goes through the entire atrium of the ruins during Holy Week.

People say that it is the spirit of an immense treasure buried in the indigenous community. It is a giant punch that shines like gold. It goes out at night after the death of the last chief Adiact, at the stroke of midnight.

Colonel Joaquín Arrechavala: appears in all the streets of the neighborhoods of León. He was a Spanish soldier who arrived in colonial times and died in León on October 13, 1823.

The Nagua cart: It is a ghost or haunted cart that came out at night making an infernal noise, it is pulled by two emaciated and skinny oxen, with the ribs almost out, one ox is black and the other is a sheepdog. She does not go around corners, because when she reaches a corner where she has to turn, she disappears and is then heard walking on another street. Some believe that when it happens it is to announce someone's death. In this way, people say “the nagua cart took her away”.

the giganticPopular and traditional dance of León that takes place in the streets, squares and parks throughout the year and in particular among the groups that will shout La Purísima on December 7th.

The popular and colorful giants from León take to the streets of the city on December 08 during the giants and big-headed pepes contest, which takes place in the atrium of the Cathedral. The huge puppets form an unusual and unforgettable show.


A particularity of the city of León is the hoot every day at 07:00 in the morning and 12:00 noon, which indicates the start and end of the daily workday, respectively.

Leading figures of the history and culture of León

Ruben Dario _leon_cultura15Felix Rubén García SarmientoRubén Darío (1867 - 1916): He was born in Metapa, today Ciudad Darío, Matagalpa, on January 18, 1867. From an early age he was moved to live in León, where he studied and trained. He is the greatest representative of literary modernism in the Spanish language and the poet who has had a greater and more lasting influence on the poetry of the XNUMXth century in the Hispanic sphere. He also called the Prince of Castilian Letters.

Miguel Larreynaga: Vinto the world in the city of León on September 29, 1772. He was drafter and signer of the Act of Independence of Central America while successfully holding positions of responsibility under the mandate of the Spanish crown, in Guatemala and Mexico. He was a wise and prudent man, philosopher, humanist, lawyer and poet. He served as a diplomat and critic; he was representative of Nicaragua before the Central American Court.

He obtained a degree in philosophy and geometry at the San Ramón Conciliar Seminary and later studied Civil and Canon Law at the University of San Carlos de Guatemala. He died at the age of 74 in 1847.

Solomon of the Jungle leon_cultura3

Solomon of the Jungle

Solomon of the Jungle: 

Notable politician of labor tendency, was born on March 20, 1893 in León. At the age of 12, he gave a speech to President Zelaya reminding him of the rights of man, for which his father was released and the president assigned him a scholarship in the United States. He participated in the First World War, pouring out his experiences in the book The Unknown Soldier, written in Spanish in 1922 with illustrations by Diego Rivera, a famous Mexican painter.

Towards 1930 he campaigned in Nicaragua in favor of Augusto C. Sandino, publishing in various media. In 1935 he settled in Mexico, became an advisor to President Miguel Alemán Valdés. He was appointed Nicaraguan ambassador to France and died in Paris on February 5, 1959.

Jose de la Cruz Mena: Nicaraguan musician and composer, called "The Divine Leper". He was born in León on May 3, 1874. He began studying music with his father, who taught him to play the cornet. He studied music in Honduras and El Salvador, where he joined the Banda de los Supremos Poderes. In 1892, he returned to Nicaragua, due to his illness he chose to seclude himself and isolate himself in a cabin on the banks of the Chiquito River.

Miguel Larreynaga l_leon_cultura10

Miguel Larreynaga.

He was the greatest exponent of Leonese music with a vast repertoire from which the well-known immortal waltzes emerge: Ruinas, Rosalía, Amores de Abraham and Bella Margarita; He also composed songs, mazurkas, Christmas carols, and Easter sounds, as well as Oratorios and Requiems. His friends compiled the notes he produced when he played his guitar or his whistle. He died in 1907, at the age of 33.

Rodrigo Penalba:  considered the father of contemporary Nicaraguan academic painters. He was born in León in 1908. The basis of his work as a painter was the technique of oil paintings, watercolors and drawings.

In 1948 he directed the Academy of Fine Arts in Managua. His paintings show an excellent command of human anatomy, the color technique is characterized in a dark outline in the contour of his drawings, an excellent portraitist. He died on June 3, 1979 in San Pedro Sula, Honduras.

Alfonso Cortes: He was born on December 9, 1893. He is considered one of the three greats after Darío, belonging to the Hispanic-American post-modernist group. He is famous for having lost his mind in 1927, which he did not recover, but still he wrote some of the best poems of him, known as the "metaphysical poet".

Antenor Sandino Hernandez: "The Chorotega poet", born in León on June 23, 1899, in the San Sebastián neighborhood.

He wrote his first poems in adolescence, being the initiator of avant-garde poetry and continuator of modernism.

Alfonso Cortes

Alfonso Cortes.

He had a romantic writing style and was proud of his indigenous nature. He was a pioneer in the renewal of the verse. He worked in many publishing houses such as "Los Hechos", "Darto", "La Merced" and "Castro Wassmer", which contributed to the best formation of his style. He died on October 22, 1969 at age 70.

Jose Octavio Areas Davila: "Chepito Áreas" was born in León on July 25, 1946. He was the most recognized percussionist of the famous Banda Santana. He is a member of the Rock Hall of Fame as a member of the Santana Band in 1998.

He was recognized as León's "favorite son" on June 13, 2002.

Azariah H. Pallais: poet, priest and humanist from León, he was born on November 3, 1884. He belongs to the group of avant-garde.

Rigoberto López Pérez_leon_cultura16

Rigoberto Lopez Perez.

His writings include his tendency to liberation theology. He is the creator of the group called Los tres grandes (Alfonso Cortés, Salomón de la Selva and Azarías. H. Pallais).

Louis Henry Debayle Pallais: "The wise Debayle" was the teacher of several generations of doctors. Founder of scientific surgery in Nicaragua by introducing aseptic and antiseptic techniques acquired during his medical and surgical studies in Paris, France, as a disciple of the great scientist Luis Pasteur.

He was a distinguished teacher and professor at the Faculty of Medicine of the National University of Nicaragua. Thinker, philosopher and writer, he published four books that revealed his philosophical and literary talents. He was born in León on October 26, 1865 and died on March 24, 1938.

Rigoberto Lopez PerezHe was a Nicaraguan poet and an important symbol of the Sandinista Revolution, when he immolated himself to execute the dictator General Anastasio Somoza García. He was born in León into a humble family, on May 13, 1929.


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