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León Cathedral named World Heritage Site

June 6, 2011

The León Cathedral in Nicaragua, whose beginnings date back to the mid-18th century, was named a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in Paris last Tuesday.

The cathedral, built between 1747 and finished in the 19th century by Guatemalan architect Diego José de Porres Esquivel, “expresses the transition from baroque to neoclassical architecture and its style can be considered eclectic,” UNESCO said in a statement.

The cathedral “is characterized by the sobriety of its interior and an abundance of natural light.” The vault of the sanctuary, however, “presents rich ornamentation.”

In its interior, the León Cathedral houses important works of art, including a wooden Flemish altar and 14 paintings of the Stations of the Cross by Nicaraguan artist Antonio Sarria.

The World Heritage List, which helps promote conservation of important historical sites, includes 936 properties.

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