Sightsee the ruins of religious statues, chapels and altars at a derelict cathedral in the heart of Managua.
Survey the ruins of the old Managua Cathedral (Catedral de Santiago) and imagine the building in its glory days, before an earthquake brought much of it to the ground.
The Managua Cathedral was designed and made in Belgium and shipped to Managua in the 1920s to be put together. The building survived an earthquake in 1931, shortly after its construction, but was not so fortunate in the colossal quake of 1972. Damaged beyond repair, the church was declared unsafe to enter.
Although visitors are forbidden to go inside, there is still much to see. Gaze up at the main façade with its twin towers and rooftop statue of Jesus Christ that stands above the front entrance. Below it is the pediment with a carved figure of the apostle Santiago brandishing a sword.
Stroll around the perimeter of the crumbling edifice to view its statues, stonework and tall columns. Look closely to see more evidence of the destructive power of the earthquake. It is there in the cracks in the walls and in the uneven angles of some of the masonry.
The neoclassical cathedral is surrounded by a fence, but unless there has been recent seismic activity, you should be able to get close enough to peer inside. Observe faded murals and paintings, damaged altars and chapels and columns and pillars with chunks missing. Come at night to see the church illuminated.
If you would like to attend a religious service, head a few blocks to the south to the Metropolitan Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, built in 1991.
The old Managua Cathedral is situated on the east side of the Plaza de la Republica. The square is also home to the Presidential Palace and National Museum, and is on several city bus routes.