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In the words of Nicaraguan Institute of Tourism:

Leon was the capital of Nicaragua for more than 200 years until it was replaced by Managua in 1851. Along with Granada, its rival city, long ago it served as a political, military, cultural and religious center.

The architecture in Leon reflects its colonial past which can be seen mainly in its churches. The Metropolitan Cathedral is considered to be the most important colonial structure in Central America. Its walls are decorated with true masterpieces of art. Some renowned Nicaraguans, such as Ruben Dario, are buried in the Cathedral.

Leon is a university city par excellence. Its university was the first in the country.

Only 50 km from Leon are the ruins of old Leon, a veritable treasury of 16th Century architecture.