Culture and History in Estelí

The Nicaraguan city of Estelí has a number of interesting attractions, one of which is the History and Archeology Museum founded by historian Berenice Castellano in 1993. With its brightly painted exterior walls, this small museum exhibits a wide range of historic items from around Nicaragua and beyond its borders. These include historic Nicaraguan currency, as well as coins and bills from Argentina, Egypt, The Netherlands and Russia. Visitors can view antique items that were once considered technologically advanced, such as radios, old-fashioned record players, manual typewriters and telephones.

Entrance to the museum is free and tours are offered by the two caretakers of the museum and its contents, which includes some colorful paintings depicting local everyday scenes created by Estelí artists in the 1980s, some of whom taught students at the Leonel Rugama Cultural Center in Estelí. In the archeological section of the museum, visitors can view a number of original petroglyphs (rock engravings) which were discovered in Estelí’s Venecia and La Comuna neighborhoods. The museum has a map of archeological sites within the vicinity and the museum caretakers can direct visitors who would like to tour these sites.

Dedicated to those who lost their lives in the revolution, the Heroes and Martyrs Museum is located near Estelí’s central park. Here visitors can view newspaper articles, photographs and personal stories relating to a time when Estelí supported the Sandinistas against the Somoza dictatorship, and brave fighters lost their lives in their battle for freedom.

The Leonel Rugama House of Culture was founded in 1979 and named in honor of the Estelí-born poet who, as a member of the FSLN died fighting against the Somoza dictatorship. The center is a gathering place for painters, artisans, musicians and dancers of all ages to share their artistic talent with both locals and visitors. Free craft and painting lessons are held at the center, with music lessons available for a small fee. Concerts, dance performances and art exhibitions are held at the center, which is also the venue for the annual cultural month honoring Nicaragua’s national poet Rubén Darío.