León has countless churches and plazas to explore, as well as buildings and murals of historical significance. Iglesia de la Recolección (1a Av. NE) is a gorgeous church with carved stone vines around a pillared facade. The baroque construction has a well-preserved and imposing bell tower. Iglesia El Calvario is on a small hill overlooking Calle Central Rubén Darío. Its twin red-brick bell towers guard a neoclassical facade, and inside, you'll find two marvelous statues of the Good Thief and the Bad Thief. Colorful panels depict biblical scenes, while slim wooden columns hold decorative motifs. La Iglesia y Convento de San Francisco, located in front of the Museo Rubén Darío , has two gorgeous altars and a pretty, shaded courtyard to the side.
A block and a half from the city's main cathedral is Iglesia La Merced. Constructed in 1762 by the Mercederian order, it's a fine example of baroque and neoclassical design. It faces a small park and has an attractive bell tower, with nice views below. Iglesia San Juan (3a Av. SE) is in an old atmospheric part of town amid small adobe houses. This charming church was built in 1625. If you continue farther north, 1 block from its east side, you'll come across León's old abandoned train station.
Every Saturday, the tidy and open Parque Central, on the northern side of 1 Calle SE, holds a community fiesta called Tertulia Leonesa with live music and lots of food and drink. It starts in the afternoon and goes on until midnight. Many worthwhile attractions radiate from the park. Colegio La Asunción (1a Calle SO) was the first theological college in Nicaragua. Palacio Episcopal (1a Calle SE) is an attractive colonial building, as is the Colegio de San Ramón (1a Calle SE). The Mausoleo de los Héroes y Mártires is within a small plaza bordered by a fascinating mural detailing the revolution. Casa de Obrero (2a Av. NO) is where poet Rigoberto López Pérez assassinated the dictator Anastasio Somoza García while dressed as a waiter. There is a plaque outside the house celebrating the event as the "beginning of the end." You can take another trip down revolutionary road at the Old Jail (4a Calle SO), which was the site of a significant skirmish between rebels and the National Guard. It is now a remembrance garden.
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