Tucked into León, Nicaragua’s meandering streets is this curious gem of a museum, El Museo de Tradiciones y Leyendas (the Museum of Traditions and Legends). Life-size paper mâché displays tell the story of some 14 local myths and legends, including tales of the golden crocodile, the beheaded priest, and the Spanish Colonel.
Between 1921 and 1979, the building that now houses the museum was used as a prison during the Somoza family dictatorship, which lasted 43 years between 1936 and 1979. During their regime, thousands of people were detained as political prisoners, often enduring torture and abuse.
Today, the museum maintains some of the original cells and prison walls from the 20th century. Murals depict the brutal methods prison guards used to torture detainees.
Know Before You Go
The museum is also known as El Museo de Tradiciones y Leyendas and isn't generally crowded. Please see official website for hours and admission.