by Lorraine Caputo
PHOTO: Cathedral of León, Nicaragua (2009). Photo by Brassmaster, used by permission.
NOTE: The Cathedral of the Assumption of Mary, León Cathedral, is an important and historic landmark in Nicaragua. Constructed from 1747 to 1814, the cathedral has maintained its status as the largest cathedral in Central America and one of the best known in the Americas due to its distinct architecture and cultural importance. Nicaragua is the largest country in the Central American isthmus, bordered by Honduras to the northwest, the Caribbean to the east, Costa Rica to the south, and the Pacific Ocean to the southwest. Managua is the country’s capital and largest city. The multi-ethnic population of six million includes people of indigenous, European, African, and Asian heritage. The main language is Spanish. Indigenous tribes on the Mosquito Coast speak their own languages and English.
NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: León is Nicaragua’s second largest city. Because of the university there, it has deep cultural traditions—including music and poetry (renowned poet Rubén Darío died in León). According to legend, its cathedral—which has a staircase flanked by two large lions (León means lion in Spanish) leading up to the atrium—was in reality supposed to be built in Santiago de Chile; but the ship carrying the plans for the two churches sank and the saved drafts were mixed up. I have visited León a number of times—but never with a camera.
PHOTO: Lion sculpture outside the Cathedral of León, Nicaragua (2007). Photo by Elemaki, used by permission.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lorraine Caputo is a documentary poet, translator, and travel writer. Her work appears in over 180 journals in Canada, the US, Latin America, Europe, Asia, Australia, and Africa, as well as in 12 chapbooks of poetry—including Caribbean Nights (Red Bird Chapbooks, 2014), Notes from the Patagonia (dancing girl press, 2017), and On Galápagos Shores (dancing girl press, 2019). She also pens travel pieces, with stories appearing in the anthologies Drive: Women’s True Stories from the Open Road (Seal Press, 2002) and Far-Flung and Foreign (Lowestoft Chronicle Press, 2012), and travel articles and guidebooks. In March 2011, the Parliamentary Poet Laureate of Canada honored her verse. She has done over 200 literary readings, from Alaska to the Patagonia, and journeys through Latin America, listening to the voices of the pueblos and Earth. You may follow her Latin America Wander travels on Facebook and at latinamericawander.wordpresscom.