Ruins of León Viejo
León is a department (state) in northwestern Nicaragua (5,138 km2). It is also the second largest city in Nicaragua, after Managua. It was founded by the Spaniards as León Santiago de los Caballeros and rivals Granada, Nicaragua, in the number of historic Spanish colonial churches, secular buildings, and private residences. As of 2007, the city had an estimated population of 191,076. which increases sharply during university season with many students coming from other regions of Nicaragua. It is the capital and municipality of León department.
León is located along the Río Chiquito (Chiquito River), some 90 kilometres (56 miles) northwest of Managua, and some 18 km (11 miles) east of the Pacific Ocean coast. León has long been the political and intellectual center of the nation and its National Autonomous University of Nicaragua UNAN was founded in 1813, making it the second oldest university in Central America. León is also an important industrial, agricultural (sugar cane, cattle, peanut, plantain, sorghum) and commercial center for Nicaragua.
- León is a department (state) in northwestern Nicaragua (5,138 km2).