Nicaragua’s capital city Managua is home to the Palacio de Cultura (Cultural Palace), which is situated in the former building of the Palacio Nacional (National Palace). It is one of the most impressive buildings in Managua, located in the ancient city center at the Plaza de la Revolución. Today, the building is used as a cultural center and is home to the national archives, the National Library, the National Museum and the ministry of culture. The center is dedicated to the conservation and restoration of Nicaraguan art and culture and makes it accessible to the general public.
The construction of the current building started in 1935 during the reign of President Juan Bautista Sacasa. It was built at the same spot as the previous National Palace, which got destroyed during the earthquake of 1931. After the earthquake in 1972, the building was repaired and painted in yellow as you see it now. During the revolution, the National Palace was overtaken by the Sandinistas in 1978 and the governmental workers inside the building were taken as hostages.
After the revolution, the building was called ‘Palacio de la Revolución’ (Palace of Revolution) for 11 years. All in all, the building has served as governmental offices for 50 years, before it got turned into the cultural center in 1996. The north and south facades of the building resemble themselves with each having a huge entrance portal and a triangle-shaped frontispiece featuring the emblem of Nicaragua and the inscription ‘República de Nicaragua – Palacio Nacional’ (Republic of Nicaragua – National Palace).
The National Museum, located in the ground floor of the building, is worth a visit. It is not only fascinating to stroll through the ancient palace building with its huge rooms and the open arcades which border the two open courtyards – the museum itself is quite interesting. The museum gives you an insight into Nicaragua’s geography, history and art. You will find Pre-Columbian artifacts and ceramics, learn about Nicaragua’s geography and volcanoes, see artworks by famous Nicaraguan artist, find out about the typical culture and artistry of the different regions and you can even marvel over some modern art and see the latest works of Nicaragua’s art students.
The museum is located in the old city centre, opposite the old cathedral at the Plaza de la Revolución. Follow the Avenida Bolívar towards the Managua lake and you will see it on the right side.