Leon Viejo is the place where the city of León was originally founded in the town of Puerto Momotombo, Municipality of La Paz Centro.
Located on the slopes of the Momotombo volcano and on the shores of Lake Xolotlán, it was abandoned by its inhabitants that were located in the current location of Leon after the volcanic eruption of Momotombo.
The ruins of León Viejo, declared in 2001 World Heritage by UNESCO, are a historical testimony of the initial stage of the Spanish conquest. They were discovered in 1967 and the following year began excavations in search of historical vestiges.
As a result of the excavations, it is known that the city had a layout similar to almost all the cities of Spanish America of that time, in the form of a grid, which is an exact square and the square was located in its center.
The center of León Viejo occupies an approximate area of 800 m long by 500 m wide and in it are erected, around its Plaza Mayor and on the banks of its streets, 16 ruins rehabilitated until now.
The city had three monasteries: "La Merced", "San Pablo" and "San Francisco" located in the main streets of the city and that were in function until approximately 1560.
Of those monasteries, the one of La Merced has already been found At the southern end of the ruins, but not the other monasteries.
Unfortunately, the ruins have not escaped the latest and most recent natural disasters. In May 1982 the "Alleta" storm destroyed the walls of the city. In October 1988, Hurricane "Joan" (Juana) caused further damage to the ruins and The most severe, in October 1998 Hurricane Mitch caused estimated damages of 40%, affecting several houses, the convent of La Merced and Fortaleza. The ruins had to be restored.
León Viejo is the only colonial city of the sixteenth century settled in America, which never suffered urban alterations throughout history, this being the main argument to ask Unesco to be declared Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
To get to Leon viejo, located 30km from the city of León, you should take a well-marked detour from the New to Leon road, 2 km from La Paz Centro.De there, follow the access road, which no Has a loss, for 12km until reaching the point where the ruins are.
To get there by bus, buses depart daily from La Paz Centro and from Leon to León old, you can also go by Taxi from La Paz Centro.