The church La Merced (Parroquia de Nuestra Señora de La Merced) is located in the colonial city Granada. Within walking distance from the central square, La Merced offers the best view over the city. The church’s foundation and first construction dates back to 1534. However, it has been destroyed and burned down many times in history. The pirate Morgan plundered and set the church on fire in 1670. After its reconstruction it was burned down again during the Filibuster War (1856 – 1857). In 1856, the American adventurer and former president of Nicaragua William Walker set the church on fire. Because of its many rebuilds and extensions, La Merced displays a variety of architectural styles, varying from neoclassical decorations to a baroque style facade.
La Merced is open to the public and the inside hall is famous for its gilded altar piece at the main altar. Yet, tourists mainly visit the church in order to ascend the bell tower and to enjoy the impressive view from the top. The tower was first constructed between 1781 and 1783. During the Nicaraguan Civil War, the two upper floors were demolished in 1854 and then rebuilt in 1863. Nowadays, the bell tower offers the best 360° panoramic view over Granada and the surrounding area.
From the top you can spot all the important buildings in Granada. This includes an excellent view towards the yellow cathedral of Granada. In the background you can see the Nicaragua Lake with the Isletas and in the South the mighty Mombacho volcano towers over the landscape. The bell tower of La Merced is definitely the best place to catch some exceptional vistas and to take pictures of Granada from a bird’s eye view. You can ascend the tower for a small entrance fee of approximately $ 1.
The church is located two blocks West from the Central Square