Our Guest House Nancite host, John said it would be quiet overnight and he was right. Unlike our time in Granada, there were no bombas going off, no honking horns and no loud music in the distance. It has definitely contributed to good sleeps here in Leon.
Looking for Ruben Dario
Our explorations of the city continued but this time we were on the hunt for the cultural nuggets we’ve read about. One key player in this sphere is the revered Nicaraguan poet Ruben Dario. He initiated a literary movement called modernismo that blossomed at the end of the 19th century.
Recognized throughout all of Latin America, his extensive body of work is a cornerstone – his significant influence on 20th century Spanish literature is undisputed. Ruben’s ancestral home was in Leon and its now a museum in his honor – El Museo Ruben Dario – one of our morning’s destinations.
It was yet another look through the window of Nicaraguan history. Ruben’s final resting place in the Catedral Basilica de la Asuncion. Appropriate for such a highly regarded man.
To learn more about this fascinating fellow please visit this Wikipedia link:
A stunning art gallery
Very near the Ruben Dario museum is the famed Centre de Arte Fundacion – Ortiz Gurdian.
This incredible art gallery of galleries is not to be missed. We’ll let Heather tell the story:
Chris and I went to the Galleria a few days ago and spent close to 3 hours being overwhelmed by the quantity and quality of what we were seeing. It became clear to me that I would need a second trip to fully appreciate the scope of art on display.
Let me start with the first few pieces. 1490 Maestro Alemsa pieces of art mounted in a shutter-like frame. 1490, not reproductions, but the real thing. I have a background of museum work from my days at BCPM (BC Provincial Museum) and to realize that I was literally one inch away from these pieces was enough to blow me away. With only my sense of amazement was I able to keep my hands from touching. What a privilege to be so close to these works of art.
It continued on from there to pieces by Armando Lara (Honduras) 1999, a stunning piece called “La Virgen del Maiz”. Another, new to me favorite artiste was Alejandro Arostequi from Bluefields, Nicaragua. He had two pieces on display…..Cinquo figures Cosminas and Cuidades del Pacifico. These were huge , triptoglyphs, made with brilliant colors and… pop cans!
OK, OK, I’m sure by now you’ve probably skipped to the next paragraph but here’s my last comment. If you have any interest in art, modern or otherwise, you need to fly to Managua, taxi to Leon and spend a week in this incredible city.
Done…..back to Chris!
Well said Heather!
In the afternoon we attempted to visit some of the remaining churches on the tour. It’s said León has more colonial churches and cathedrals per capita than any other place in Nicaragua. And, it’s interesting how different they are. One thing was clear, they marked various districts within the city.
Heroes and Martyrs
One of our final stops on the tour was the Galeria Heroes y Martires. It literally puts faces to the people who gave their lives for independence during the revolution. Wall after wall of photo portraits of men and women chronologically arranged year by year.
It was another moving experience for us. So many normal looking people – they didn’t look like soldiers. So much sacrifice.
After we gazed into some of the many faces, we turned and were greeted by two older folks – custodians to the gallery. They also made a point of asking us where we were from. “Somos Canadienses” was again met with smiles. “Los Canadienses son nuestros amigos.” Within the flurry of Spanish that ensued, I detected the words, “Por la paz.” For peace. Wonderful to hear.
The House of Culture
The final stop was the Casa de Cultura. Actually a school, it offers a variety of classes including music and dance. Very cool to see! It also features various Nicaraguan artists paintings and photographs. One of the suggested artifacts is a painting of Ronald Regan.
A few more pics from the past days:
OK, let’s move on….
It’s been a wonderful stay… We’re leaving Leon tomorrow for Las Penitas Beach. It’s only 20 kilometers from here and very different than San Juan Del Sur apparently. We’ll see…