Leon Viejo

‘Leon Viejo through Time and Space’ project is directed by Rigoberto Navarro Genie (Éveha Nicaragua) and co-directed by Sébastien Perrot-Minnot (Éveha International). The project is financed by the Nicaraguan Cultural Institute (INC) and, in part, by the Embassy of Luxembourg.

The excavation campaigns
(by years)


Dr. Rigoberto Navarro-Genie (Éveha Nicaragua)
Dr. Sébastien Perrot-Minnot (Éveha International)

Location and historical overview

Leon Viejo archaeological site is located in the western part of Nicaragua, close to the village of Puerto Momotombo. It borders the Mangua lake (or Xolotlan), at the foot of the Momotombo volcano. The Spanish founded there one of the first cities on the American continent. Established in 1524, under the name of Leon de Nagrando, it became three years later the capital of the colonial province of Nicaragua. It reached its peak in 1540, before decreasing until it was completly abandoned in 1610 after a series of disasters caused by men and the elements. The city was then transfered to the current location of Leon city.


Historical background and research axis

The rediscovery of the Leon Viejo site in 1967 motivated campaigns of clearance, excavation and restoration. Several remarkable monuments were found on this occasion, including the old cathedral of Santa María de la Gracia and the La Merced convent. The site was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2000 as “its ruins are outstanding testimony to the social and economic structures of the Spanish Empire in the 16th century” (

How Eveha International Participates

Archaeological investigations direction Artefacts studies Geomorphology


Ambassade du Grand Duché du Luxembourg au Nicaragua
Institut Nicaraguayen de la Culture (INC)
Institut Nicaraguayen de Tourisme (INTUR)