Architecture in Nicaragua, Buildings, Culture

Much like the country itself, Nicaragua’s architecture is incredibly diverse. As you travel the country you will find yourself pondering on the plight of rural citizens living in shacks in various rural areas only to find yourself enjoying the opulence of a high-class, colonial-style hotel only hours later. Much of the existing architecture in the main cities has been influenced by the countries history and built largely in one or two architectural styles. Some of these historic cities are known to be among the oldest Colonial centers in the Americas and as such, they draw a lot of tourists.

It wasn’t long after the first permanent Spanish settlements were built in Nicaragua that the country became a colony of Spain. While the ruling governments came and went over subsequent years it was really this Spanish influence that carved the face of many of Nicaragua’s cities. Even though earthquakes have brought buildings to the ground and civil unrest has resulted in some architectural changes, it is this colonial-style that still dominates Nicaragua’s architecture in a grand and alluring way. Granada and Leon are known for their Spanish-Colonial architectural heritage and this is often a featured attraction on tours.

However while this beautiful colonial façade may be what is sold to tourists, it is not the only style of building you can expect to see on your travels. As many of the people in more rural areas are poor, they tend to live in small, crudely-made homes with only the most basic facilities. Another facet of architecture in Nicaragua are the striking, more modern buildings that are slowly starting to grow in number in certain cities. Modern buildings are usually reserved for younger cities or cities that lost much of their heritage to a natural disaster of some sort. Cities with a strong architectural legacy tend to try and maintain a theme when planning the construction of new buildings. While colonial cities enjoy cobbled streets and iron railed walk-ways, modern cities are lavishly decorated with picturesque palms trees and large grassy areas; both are equally enjoyable.

Many are starting to view the architecture in Nicaragua as a great tourist attraction. Some say it is helping to fuel a tourism revival. Whatever the case, it is a fact that a visit to the colonial cities of Leon and Granada are a must when visiting Nicaragua. So whether you enjoy taking a walk back in time and admiring the beautiful legacy of a bygone era or you simply think these grand buildings would make for some spectacular photographs, make sure you spend a little time enjoying the Spanish colonial architecture of Nicaragua.

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