Majestic La Polvora Fortress
The majestic old La Polvora Fortress stands at the end of Calle Real Xalteva in Granada, and serves as a reminder of a time when this lovely part of Nicaragua needed protection from invaders. From the fortress visitors can enjoy a spectacular view of virtually the entire city of Granada, as well as the beautiful Lake Managua and the renowned Mombacho Volcano.
Due to the high humidity experienced at the El Castillo Fortress on the banks of the San Juan River, it proved to be unsuitable for the storage of gun powder, and La Polvora Fortress was built in 1748 as a munitions storage facility and as protection against repeated pirate attacks. It is believed to be the last military building constructed by the Spanish before Nicaragua obtained independence on 15 September 1821. Later La Polvora Fortress served both as accommodation for Nicaraguan troops and as a prison.
Visitors to La Polvora Fortress will see the enormous walls with four towers standing much as they did when first constructed. Entrance to La Polvora Fortress is gained through a huge arched gateway and each of the four corners of the fortress has a six-sided tower attached to the high walls. The towers each have a tiled roof with sides open all round to allow a clear view of the surroundings and one can imagine an alert soldier or two stationed in each tower to protect the contents of the fortress. Inside the fortress is a stack of old wooden barrels that are believed to have contained the gunpowder that was being protected. There is also an original cannon mounted on a cement block on display, and visitors can explore the various quarters and prison cells.
On the Sunday closest to 15 August each year, Granada celebrates its own version of the running of the bulls, known as “Tope de Toro”. Starting at La Polvora Fortress, several bulls are set free to run along pre-determined streets of Granada, chasing young men who dare to cross their path, until reaching the shores of the lake. La Polvora Fortress provides a good vantage point to watch the beginning of Tope de Toro.
Granada is truly a grand old city, rich in history, tradition and culture, and surrounded by a treasure trove of awesome natural wonders. If you have the good fortune to travel to Nicaragua, be sure to visit Granada and while you are there take some time to explore the imposing and majestic La Polvora Fortress.