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Granada —  Municipality  — The Cathedral of Granada, seen from La Merced Church, 2007 Flag Seal Granada location within Granada Department Granada Location in Nicaragua Coordinates: 11°56′N 85°57′W / 11.933°N 85.95°W / 11.933; -85.95 Country  Nicaragua Department Granada Department Area  - Total 205 sq mi (531 km2) Population (2003)  - Total 110,326 Granada is a department in western Nicaragua (1,040 km²) and also the department's seat. With an estimated population of 110,326 (2003), it is Nicaragua's fourth most populous city and capital of the Granada Department. Granada is historically one of Nicaragua's most important cities both economically and politically. It is situated on the northwestern shore of Lake Nicaragua. It was founded by Francisco Hernández de Córdoba on December 8, 1524. It has a rich colonial heritage, seen in its architecture and layout. Granada is commonly nicknamed the Gran Sultana del Gran Lago (Great Sultan of the Great Lake). Contents 1 Maps 2 History 3 Geography and ecology 4 Economy and tourism 5 Infrastructure 6 Relevant historical architecture and attractions 7 Culture 8 References 9 External links Maps The OpenStreetMap project has mapped the area here. An Interactive Map with a Virtual Tour of Granada. History Granada street scene, circa 1905 It was named by Hernández de Córdoba after the ancient Spanish city of Granada. This was done in honor of the defeat of the last Moorish stronghold, which had been Spanish Granada, by the Catholic King and Queen of Spain. Granada, Nicaragua was historically the sister capital in Central America to Antigua, Guatemala. During the colonial period, Granada maintained a flourishing level of commerce with ports on the Atlantic Ocean, through Lake Nicaragua (a.k.a. Cocibolca) and the San Juan River. The city has been witness and victim to many of the battles with and invasions from English, French and Dutch pirates trying to take control of Nicaragua.[1] It was also where William Walker, the American filibuster, took up residence and attempted to take control of Central America as a ruling monarch. One of Walker's generals, Charles Frederick Henningsen, set the city ablaze before escaping, destroying much of the ancient city and leaving printed the words "Here was Granada".[2][3] For many years Granada disputed with León its hegemony as the major city of Nicaragua. The city of Granada was favored by the Conservatives, while Léon was favored by the Liberals. For many years there was conflict that at times became quite violent between the cities' families and political factions. In the mid-19th century a compromise site was agreed on and the capital was finally established at Managua between both cities . For the most part Granada avoided damage during the years of conflict in Nicaragua in the 1980s. Geography and ecology The coast of Lake Nicaragua in Granada Granada is located along the coast of the Lake Nicaragua (a.k.a. Lake Cocibolca), the world's twentieth largest lake. Granada is the capital city of the Department of Granada, which borders Boaco and Managua to the north, Masaya and Carazo to the east and Rivas to the south. Within the same department, the River Tipitapa which connects the Lake of Managua and Nicaragua passes through it in the north. It also has three volcanic lagoons; Manares, Genirzaro, and the famous Apoyo. Apoyo, which is shared with the Department of Masaya, is the largest volcanic lagoon in Nicaragua. View of Volcan Mombacho from the Isletas de Granada and Lake Nicaragua Granada is a very warm city all year round, with very similar temperatures to Managua. This is due to similarities in geography with its close proximity to a lake and surrounded by high hills. Rainfall in Granada is approximately between 1,100-2,100mm annually. The vegetation around Granada is a reflection of its climatology. Dry forests and also humid forests skirt the Mombacho volcano. The volcano is also home to a wide array of fauna. (See Wildlife of Nicaragua) The lake is also home to many creatures, both marine and freshwater creatures. It is the only freshwater lake in the world where sharks live (Nicaragua shark). Fishing in the lake is quite good, and fishermen, both commercial and recreational, regularly catch guapote and mojarras, as well as sardines. Nicaragua has recently banned fishing of the Nicaragua shark and sawfish because of population decline.[4] View from the Volcan Mombacho, a volcano which blew its cone into the lake, forming an archipelago of 365 islands Other important cities and towns within the Granada district include Malacatoya, El Paso, El Guayabo, Diria, Macatepe, El Guanacaste, Nandaime and Diriomo, known nationally as the last city of witches. Mombacho volcano is the highest point (1,345 m) within Granada; the now dormant volcano blew most of its cone into the lake, forming the 365 Islets of Granada, from where the volcano provides an amazing view. It is also possible on a clear day to see Ometepe and Zapatera Islands. This latter island is the second largest island in Lake Nicaragua, and it too is an inactive volcano. It is a national treasure, known as the home of pre-Columbian statues and idols which were found on the island during the Spanish conquest, these are now exhibited in the Convento San Francisco Museum. Granada has many beaches on Lake Nicaragua which are very popular around Semana Santa ("Holy Week"). Economy and tourism See also: Tourism in Nicaragua La Gran Francia is one of Granada's fancy new hotels in refurbished colonial buildings Granada has long been a center of commerce, including timber, gold and silver. Granada's economy continues to grow as it is becoming the national tourism hub. Though Granada remains Nicaragua's fourth largest city, it is widely known for preserving some of the finest colonial-era architecture in the country. One of Granada's largest and most exclusive hotels A real estate boom had been underway for several years, with many European and Americans purchasing and renovating the area's homes for retirement or holiday homes and several foreign realtors establishing offices, but that boom slowed in 2007. The prior escalation of real estate prices in Granada and other parts of Southwestern Nicaragua has led to a shift of investor attention toward Northern Nicaragua and the cities of Matagalpa, Leon, Corinto and the surrounding beaches of Leon and Corinto. Museums have opened, including one of the finest in the country, the private Mi Museo, and new hotels and restaurants are proliferating at a fast clip. Granada, though now highly dependent on tourism, also has fertile agricultural land within the municipality. Major production of organic coffee and cacao, cattle, plantain and bananas occurs within its boundaries. Infrastructure Some of the many streets in Granada, which depict the colonial architecture of the city View Granada Town Square Most of Granada's streets are quite narrow due to the city's layout before the advent of motorized vehicles. Due to this, many streets are one-way which can add a challenge to visitors traveling by car. After many years of neglect, primarily due to the economic collapse of the nation in the 1980s, most of Granada's buildings and infrastructure began to deteriorate. Roads and public utilities were severely un-maintained. Gradually, more investment has been directed in re-establishing much of Granada's infrastructure and public utilities. The city government has directed fund towards recognition and restoration of many of Granada's historic structures. The Spanish government has provided financial cooperation for the refurbishment of the city, one of the projects which currently are transforming Calle La Calzada into Peatonal (foot traffic only) Street.[5] Relevant historical architecture and attractions Plaza de la Independencia San Francisco Church and Museum Xalteva Church Plazuela de los Leones Plaza de la Independencia Central Park Cathedral Guadalupe Church La Merced Church Souls Chapel Fortin de San Pablo Fuerte La Pólvora Episcopal Palace Alcaldía Municipal San Antonio College Diocesan College Old Social Club Old Railway Station Culture Iglesia de Guadalupe See also: Culture of Nicaragua Granada is like most of the Nicaraguan Pacific, populated primarily by a Spanish-speaking majority of Mestizos followed by whites. There are also people from the United States, Canada, Spain, Germany, Italy, Austria, the Netherlands, and France residing in Granada. This is primarily due to Granada's booming tourist economy. Recently, the number of foreigners seeking colonial homes for purchase has brought a growing number of Europeans and Americans to Granada. Real estate prices are comparatively low although increasing regularly. This influx of foreigners is influencing culture and commerce in Granada. References ^ Granada, Nicaragua History ^ Festival En Granada, Nicaragua ^ Hittell, Theodore Henry. History of California (N. J. Stone, 1898), 797. ^ Nicaragua bans freshwater shark fishing amid dwindling population numbers ^ Project for Calle La Calzada External links Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Granada, Nicaragua Granada Tourism Granada City Tourism Page Wikitravel Granada v · d · e Granada Department Capital: Granada Municipalities Diria  · Diriomo  · Granada  · Nandaime Coordinates: 11°56′N 85°57′W / 11.933°N 85.95°W / 11.933; -85.95