I visited a friend in Nicaragua earlier this year and took the opportunity to travel to Estelí, a town known for its murals.   But seeing the murals did not come easy.  I took a 6 hour detour (by chicken bus), got robbed, got un-robbed, and repeatedly got lost in Estelí’s unmarked streets.  Fortunately I stumbled across a good number of murals, and they totally lived up to their press.

Estelí is a Sandinista stronghold in the northwest of the country.  The city saw heavy combat in the 1970s as the Sandinista rebels fought to overthrow the hereditary Somoza dictatorship that had ruled Nicaragua since 1936.  Many of the murals depict scenes from the revolution:

Women played a key role in the revolution, as celebrated in this mural:

I had read about the Nicaraguan revolution, but viewing these murals really brought the history to life for me.  It was a little eerie to realize that the same (relatively) quiet streets I was walking had been the scene of so much fighting and loss of life.


3 responses to “Estelí

  1. OMG. I was there in 1992, and it was all so fresh (not that it isn’t now, but I was a wee one). It’s one of the most emotional places I have ever been. The museum of heroes and martyrs was just the tip of the iceberg.

    Thanks for sharing these, and please tell us how you got un-robbed. I’m not familliar with that!

  2. Thank you for braving the robbery to bring us these murals, Gringa, Warrior of the Chicken Bus.

    I love the shout out to the female forces in the revolution.

  3. Getting un-robbed was great!

    A fellow bus passenger was pretty disgusted with me that I wasn’t getting off the bus to chase the thieves. So SHE got off the bus, chased the thieves, and brought me back my stuff. Meanwhile, two other passengers also got off the bus and supervised calling the police.

    I mostly stood around on the side of the road listening really hard (excited, shouted Spanish is tricky). I was trying figure out if the passengers were truly helping me or if they had lured me off the bus in order to carry out an express kidnapping.

    I’m pleased to report there was no express kidnapping. Just really, really nice people!

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