Nicaragua — Leon Viejo

The Ruins of León Viejo are located near the town of Puerto Momotombo, opposite the volcano of the same name, at the western end of Lake Managua. Founded in 1524, the city was partially destroyed by the Momotombo volcanic eruption of 1578, leaving the earthquake of 1610 to strike the final blow by destroying what remained standing. The decision was then taken to move the city to the present day location of Leon, about 30 miles to the west.

As León Viejo did not develop, the ruins are a testimony to the economic and social structures of the Spanish Empire in the 16th century. The site preserves the original layout of the first cities founded by the Spaniards in the New World before the Laws of the Indies, which regulated social, political and economic life in these areas. It also demonstrates experiments carried out on materials to find those that would be used in future colonial buildings erected in the Americas.

Photos taken March 2015 (Nikon D7000).

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