In 1972, a major earthquake destroyed 90% of the city, along with the old cathedral in downtown Managua. Since the church’s structure was thought beyond repair, a new cathedral was begun in 1991 and completed in just two years.
Visitors approach La Nueva Catedral (the new cathedral) along a paved street that cuts through a field of tall palm trees. Here and there street vendors peddle snacks and chilled soft drinks from plastic coolers. The avenue abruptly ends at the lip of a broad grey block plaza in front of the church’s austere low facade.
Its architectural style is modern, with a roof composed of 63 concrete cupolas, each representing the individual dioceses in the country. Some locals call it “La Chinchona” because the many cupolas look like so many “chichas” - Spanish slang for breasts.
Doors and windows are open air, allowing birds and breezes to enter freely. It’s not unusual to see pigeons fly from their perches on a narrow ledge atop concrete pilasters to racks of pigeonholes near the choir loft.