Managua is the capital and largest city of Nicaragua, and the center of an eponymous department. Located on the southwestern shore of Lake Managua and inside the Managua Department, it has an estimated population 1,042,641 in 2016 within the city’s administrative limits and a population of 1,401,687 in the metropolitan area, which additionally includes the municipalities of Ciudad Sandino, El Crucero, Nindirí, Ticuantepe and Tipitapa.
The city was declared the national capital in 1852. Previously, the capital alternated between the cities of León and Granada. The 1972 Nicaragua earthquake and years of civil war in the 1980s severely disrupted and stunted Managua’s growth. It was not until the mid-1990s that Managua began to see a resurgence.
(Pictures taken in 2014)
The Trees of Life (Spanish: Árboles de la Vida) are a public art installation in Managua, Nicaragua. Begun in 2013 to honor the 34th anniversary of the Sandinista Revolution, the Trees of Life are a city beautification project of First Lady Rosario Murillo, who has also served as Nicaragua’s Vice President since 2017.
The approximately 140 abstract, brightly colored tree sculptures were reportedly inspired by the 1909 work by Austrian painter Gustav Klimt called The Tree of Life. They are made of metal and decorated by 2.5 million tiny light bulbs in total. Standing 42 to 56 feet tall, they cost a reported $20,000 to $25,000 (USD) a piece and in total $1 million to light annually.
The Trees often line streets and parks in Managua and sometimes accompany other statues, including the illuminated statue of Hugo Chávez in Managua’s Hugo Chávez Roundabout, which cost $1.1 million to construct, and the statue of Nicaraguan revolutionary (and Murillo’s great-uncle) Augusto Sandino on the stage of Managua’s outdoor concert venue, the Acoustic Shell.
Commentary on the visual style of the installation has been mixed. One observer compared them to the lavish Catholic cathedrals constructed in the colonial period, saying “these vibrant public artworks have drastically brightened the streets of Managua — and in a relatively short time.” However other viewers have called them “garish”.
In the 2018 protests, demonstrators toppled, and in some cases set on fire, a number of the Trees, a gesture widely interpreted as a rebuke to the administration and Murillo specifically.
The Old Cathedral of Managua, known as the Catedral de Santiago (St. James’ Cathedral) in Spanish, is a cathedral in Managua, Nicaragua.
The Cathedral was designed by Belgian Architects. Its neoclassical design was said to have been inspired by the look of the church of Saint-Sulpice in Paris, France. Construction began in 1928 and lasted until 1938. Belgian engineer Pablo Dambach oversaw the construction of the cathedral. The iron that was used to frame the core of the cathedral was shipped directly from Belgium.
The cathedral survived the 1931 Nicaragua earthquake, as only its iron core had been erected at the time. Four decades later, the cathedral was heavily damaged during the 1972 Nicaragua earthquake, and the building was subsequently condemned though it was not demolished. The closing of the cathedral eventually led to the construction of the Metropolitan Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, also known as the New Cathedral of Managua, which was completed in 1993. Since that time, the restoration of the Old Cathedral has appeared to be possible.
The Old Cathedral’s tower clock, which was damaged during the Contra Civil War of the 1980s, was later removed during renovations to the cathedral in the late 1990s. The clock is now housed at the National Palace of Culture.
The Metropolitan Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception of Mary (Spanish: Catedral Metropolitana de la Inmaculada Concepción de María), referred to as the New Cathedral (La Nueva Catedral), is located in Managua, Nicaragua. It was dedicated to the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary.
The cathedral was built in 1991 to serve as a replacement for the Old Cathedral of Managua or St. James’ Cathedral (Catedral de Santiago). The old cathedral was damaged and thought to be unrestoreable after a 1972 earthquake that destroyed 90% of the city.
The new cathedral was designed by the Mexican architect Ricardo Legorreta. Construction began around August 1991, and the cathedral was inaugurated on September 4, 1993. The cost of the newly-built cathedral was estimated at $4.5 million. The new cathedral has generated much controversy, particularly about its architectural style and finance. The costs were covered partially thanks to the help of American Tom Monaghan, owner of Domino’s Pizza. Locals refer to it as La Chichona on account of the plethora of cupolas adorning it which resemble many chichas (Spanish: slang for “breasts”).