Although now abandoned and in disrepair, El Fortin was once a major player in the Revolution of 1979. Built in 1889 by then president Roberto Sacasa, it was used first as a military fort. It was also built for it's amazing city views.
It was left empty for many years until the Somoza's realized they needed to keep an eye on the city of Leon. It was the perfect vantage point so in the 1950's it was used as a military base and prison until the Sandinista's took it over on July 7, 1979, releasing all the political prisoners there.
Getting there: It is located south of the city along a 2.5 km long dirt road starting at the west side of Guadeloupe Cemetery. It is best to drive yourself or hire a taxi.
A family lives at the entrance and you need to ask permission to enter the fort. There is no entrance fee but is always best to leave a good will tip with the family when leaving.
The fort was made to defend the city so was constructed on the perfect vantage point. The original part was made with thick walls of stones cemented together with mud/cement mixture. Later extension walls were made with more modern means, reinforced concrete decks and columns and concrete blocks.
As with all the forts we have seen here, the cells were dark with only small windows. They would be over crowded with prisoners and still today signs of torture methods can be seen--dunk tank in cell floor
Located on the Hill of Acosasco, El Fortin has the best view of the city of Leon and surrounding countryside. Also it has a great view of the Cordillera de los Maribios, a mountain range containing all the nearby volcanoes.
Point of Interest: Good time to visit is July 7th when there is a celebration including historial reenactments and fireworks.