The Plaza de la Fé (Plaza of Faith) was built in 1996 in tribute to Pope John Paul II’s second visit to Nicaragua; former Managua  mayor Herty Lewites built the adjacent La Concha Acustica here for live concerts. Both are used mostly for Ortega political rallies these days.
Hugely representative of the peacemaking initiatives of former president Violeta Chamorro, the Monumento de la Paz celebrated a new era of peace. Beneath the concrete are buried the destroyed remains of thousands and thousands of weapons from the Contra war, many of which—including a tank—can be seen protruding through the cement.
Almost directly across the street (just a bit west) is the unmistakable statue of the Guerrillero sin Nombre. This area was and may still be a favorite target for thieves. Despite continuous police presence now, play it safe: Visit it only during daylight hours.
You can’t miss this guy. The Nameless Guerrilla Soldier grasps a pick-ax in one hand and an AK-47 in the disproportionately muscular other. This hulkish symbol of the revolution’s aspirations is inscribed with one of Sandino’s most treasured quotations: “Only the laborers and farmers will go to the end.”
Arnoldo Alemán’s administration countered with a different statue just across the road, honoring the working class with two cowed and undernourished looking figures, one representing a construction worker and the other a domestic servant, both representative of Nicaragua’s growing laborer community in neighboring Costa Rica.
Across from the new cancillería (foreign affairs) building, where the old Iglesia de San Antonio used to stand, is the monument to victims of the earthquake of 1972. This touching statue, constructed in 1994, was the initiative of journalist Aldo Palacios and portrays a man standing amidst the wreckage of his home. It is inscribed with the poem, “Requiem a una Ciudad Muerta,” by Pedro Rafael Gutierrez.
At the center of an immense field of young coconut trees along the Carretera Masaya is the new cathedral, Catedral de la Inmaculada Concepción de María, constructed just two years after the conclusion of the civil war. Commissioned by American Thomas Monahan and designed by Mexican architect Ricardo Legorretta, this dynamic and open cathedral houses the Dutch bells of the old cathedral.
Playing on the soaring forms of Spanish colonial architecture and using colors and materials of the Latin culture, the new cathedral is the pulpit of Nicaragua’s famous and controversial Cardinal Miguel Obando y Bravo. Mass is celebrated Tuesday–Saturday at noon and 6 p.m. and Sunday at 11 a.m. and 6 p.m.