When we arrive in Granada, I am searching my head for memories of my previous visit, more than twenty years earlier. It was a very short visit: arriving in the afternoon, and leaving the next morning. Now, I will have more time, I am not travelling alone, and we have a number of places we want to see in the city. After leaving our bags in one of the many attractive hotels in a colonial house, we embark on a first exploratory walk through the city. We walk through the busy streets of this former capital of Nicaragua. We end up at the Iglesia de la Merced, one of the monumental churches in this attractive city. We decide to admire the building from the outside, and then walk the main street back towards the central square, or Plaza de la Catedral. Indeed, over the east side of this lively square, with colonial buildings and horse carts, shoe shiners and stalls, looms the cathedral of Granada.
We watch the sun set over the yellow walls of the catholic temple. We walk a few blocks east and see the last rays of sun on the white walls of the San Francisco church. The next morning, we visit the Laguna de Apoyo, visit the isletas south of Granada, and are back for another walk through the streets of Granada, followed by a tasty dinner in one of the restaurants of the old city. The next morning, we are up early for a longer exploration of the city that is the oldest European city in the Americas, renamed by Hernández de Córdoba in 1524, after the Andalusian city. It once vied with León to be capital of Nicaragua, but eventually, Managua took the title. It has long had an indigenous population. You can still see many reminders of its rich and turbulent past.
We take a closer look at the portal of the Casa de los Tres Mundos, with lions carved out in stone. Next door, we see a building with slender columns. We cross the Plaza de la Catedral and walking past the Iglesia de la Merced, and continue walking west to find the Xalteva Church. It is named after the indigenous people who lived in this region when the Spaniards arrived. It was used as a fortress and was destroyed during a civil war in 1856, and by earthquakes in 1890. Fortunately, it has been rebuilt, with elements of baroque and islamic style. We continue past a modern church to reach the whitewashed walls of the Pólvora fortress. We take one of the side streets to walk back. They are lined by one-story buildings in pastel colours. On the way, we climb the bell tower of the Merced Church for splendid views of the city. From here, you get an idea of the many courtyards that normally remain hidden when walking the streets. It is time to explore the isletas just south of Granada, which we couldn't do the day before because of incoming rain. I hope it won't take another 22 years to visit this pleasant city again.
Around the World in 80 Clicks
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Granada (Nicaragua). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Granada. Read more about this site.