La Nueva Catedral

Managua is an interesting city with many fascinating attractions. Many of its buildings are still relatively new since a massive earthquake rocked the city in 1972, destroying a shocking 90% of the original city and claiming many lives. Today, a new city stands proudly in the place of the old one and visitors are encouraged to explore every corner of it.

An interesting religious attraction in Managua is the La Nueva Catedral. Loosely translated the name means ‘the New Cathedral’ and this is a reference to the fact that it has replaced the much older cathedral that was destroyed in the earthquake. More accurately, however, the church is officially called ‘the Metropolitan Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception’. The church is dedicated to Mary’s immaculate conception and it is well-used by the local populace.

In 1991 plans for construction on a new cathedral finally got underway and the building was begun. The reason it took so many years for the rebuilding to take place is that the Old Cathedral was very beautiful and much of it still remained. It took a long time before officials finally decided that it was beyond restoration and a new edifice should be erected in its place. Architect Ricardo Legorreta was commissioned to design the new cathedral and it was finally inaugurated on September 4, 1993. The somewhat unusual new building cost an unbelievable $4.5 million.

A key part of the new design is the 63 small domes that form a part of the building’s roof. The domes, or cupolas, are said to represent each of the churches in the Managua diocese and provide special structural support that should help the building survive another earthquake. However their unusual appearance has locals calling the church ‘La Chichona’ which can be loosely translated as ‘the breasts’. Because of this and the large amount of money spent on the building, La Nueva Catedral has been the subject of much controversy.

Many locals feel that while La Nueva Catedral in Nicaragua is attractive, functional and colourful, it is simply not as beautiful as the original cathedral building. Visitors will find it located on the road to the Rotonda Ruben Dario should they wish to see this unusual building.