The colonial-era church, the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception of Mary in El Viejo was built in the 17th century. The church was elevated to the status of national religious sanctuary on October 8, 1995, and was declared a minor basilica on February 7, 2006 by Pope John Paul II, during his second visit to Nicaragua. (source)
Nicaragua is the largest country in Central America. The country is situated between 11 and 14 degrees north of the Equator in the Northern Hemisphere, which places it entirely within the tropics.
The population in Nicaragua, hovering at approximately 6 million, is multiethnic. Roughly one quarter of the nation's population lives in the capital city, Managua, making Managua the second largest city and metropolitan area in Central America. Nicaragua's biological diversity, warm tropical climate, and active volcanoes make it an increasingly popular destination for tourists, surfers, biologists, and volcanologists. (source)
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