Zdjêcia

Photographer's Note

Managua - A cathedral without a heart in a city without a center

No personal consideration but literally quoted from Lonely Planet guide:
‘On December 23, 1972, an 6.2 earthquake devastated Managua, leveling more than 250 city blocks. 11.000 people were killed and 53.000 homes destroyed.
International aid poured in. The money was diverted to dictator Anastasio Somoza and his associates while the people who needed it suffered and died.
This dramatically increased opposition to Somoza among all classes of society.’


The city center and the old cathedral have never been rebuilt.
Only the Malecón on the lake front is an attractive new development.
In the former city center you will now find large open areas, wide avenues with very little traffic and the hollow shell of the Antigua Catedral, Managua’s Old Cathedral.
For security reasons you can’t enter this empty prayer house: a cathedral without a heart in a city without a center.

All new constructions have happened on the outskirts of the former city center.
Yet it is this cathedral on the large empty square which is impressive.

There were some drinks and snack vendors in a corner of the square but I was the only visitor. Twice on that afternoon I saw another individual tourist. That’s all.
Foreigners do not visit the Nicaraguan capital. Managua has a not too good reputation.
Many travelers book online a hotel in Masaya or Granada (not far from the capital) and a shuttle service from the airport to their hotel.
In the beginning and at the end of my journey I spent the night in Managua. Actually, I visited the city only from noon to evening. But I would surely recommend a full day.
I have followed the safety advice of my hotel and I met only very friendly people who were surprised to meet me.

From Wikipedia:
The cathedral was designed by Belgian architects. Its neoclassical design was said to have been inspired by the look of the church of Saint-Sulpice in Paris, France. Construction began in 1928 and lasted until 1938. Belgian engineer Pablo Dambach oversaw the construction of the cathedral.
The iron that was used to frame the core of the cathedral was shipped directly from Belgium.
The cathedral survived the 1931 Nicaragua earthquake as only its iron core had been erected at the time.
Four decades later, the cathedral was heavily damaged during the 1972 Nicaragua earthquake, and the building was subsequently condemned though it was not demolished.

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Additional Photos by Paul VDV (PaulVDV) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4287 W: 17 N: 10061] (41382)
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