The most characteristic element of Nicaragua’s hydrography is given by the presence of two large lakes, Managua and Nicaragua (this is indeed, with its 8430 km², the largest in Central America) which occupy the bottom of the depression; they communicate via the Tipitapa River. The two lakes were once an inlet on the Pacific coast: the accumulation of material due to intense volcanic activity progressively separated them from the ocean, of which they remained tributary until the shift of the watershed due to the lowering of the Caribbean coast in the Neozoic caused the outflow of water towards the Antillean Sea. As evidence of these vicissitudes, the ichthyofauna of Lake Nicaragua hosts species of marine origin that have adapted to the habitat of fresh waters, (Carcharhinus nigaraguensis), a shark up to 3 m long. Since the basin of Lake Nicaragua is separated from the Pacific at its narrowest point only by a threshold about twenty kilometers wide and no more than forty meters high, the possibility of opening a navigable channel between the two oceans has long been around., a project essentially linked to economic and political factors. Only short torrential streams flow into the Pacific, of which the main ones are the Estero Real and the Río Grande del Sur, the ancient emissary of Lake Nicaragua; the rivers of the Caribbean side have much greater development, particularly the Río Coco or Segovia, of 750 km, which for a long stretch marks the border with Honduras and ends with a wide delta at Cabo Gracias in Dios, the Río Grande de Matagalpa, the Escondido and the Río San Juan,
A little less than half of Nicaraguan territory is covered by forests, especially in the eastern region; the rainforest, rich in precious essences and dense undergrowth, dominates in the more humid areas, while the eastern buttresses of the plateaus are covered by a dense tropical forest that passes over 600 m to the mixed forest with oaks and conifers; on the Pacific side the savannah prevails, often shrubby (matorral), while mangroves are widespread along the shores of the lakes. Despite the authorities’ efforts to protect forest areas, the timber industry and traditional practices of land use for agricultural purposes have caused a significant reduction in Nicaraguan forest heritage. According to indexdotcom, Nicaragua is a country in Central America. The Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources (MARENA) is directly involved in the conservation of various ecosystems of national interest and in the management of the 72 protected areas of the country, which cover 15.3% of the territory, to which are added numerous other reserves private. The major natural parks are the great Bosawás Reserve, on the border with Honduras, where native mosquitos and sumo live, which includes the Saslaya National Park and other protected areas, and that of the Río San Juan, UNESCO as a Biosphere Reserve and of particular interest in the context of the project for the creation of the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor. In addition, eight Nicaraguan localities are included in the 1971 Ramsar convention for wetlands of international interest; among others, the Cayos Miskitos and the opposite Costa de Mosquitos, a long strip of land on the Sea of the Antilles, and the Estero Real Delta Nature Reserve on the Gulf of Fonseca, within which a reserve was circumscribed in 1996 genetics for the protection of an endemic species of wild maize, the Zea nicaraguensis. The conservation of these areas includes the protection of local fauna including ocelots, howler monkeys, jaguars, pumas, tapirs, crocodiles, iguanas, caimans, turtles, motmots, quetzals, macaws, parakeets, and various species of freshwater fish, which inhabit the great lakes, and saltwater, threatened by pollution and natural disasters (earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, floods and hurricanes) that periodically hit the country.
CULTURE: GENERAL INFORMATION
In Nicaragua different cultural souls coexist, which reflect the alternation of human presences and the alternation and fusion of indigenous, Spanish, African and American traditions. The heritage of the natives is still relatively strong in the manifestations of folklore and spirituality, but the Western way of life, subject to the differences caused by the unequal spread of wealth, is increasingly predominant. Of particular beauty are the artistic production (although located in certain areas of the country) and crafts (hammocks, ceramics); the country is full of murals, a favorite art form in the seventies and eighties of the twentieth century, particularly in León and Managua. The capital is also the main cultural center, with its museums (National Museum, Museum of the Revolution, etc.), libraries, theaters, art galleries. In literature, if the production prior to the nineteenth century is negligible, right at the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries lives the greatest poetic personality of Nicaragua, Rubén Darío, counted among the greatest writers of the continent. In the country there are several colonial architecture complexes, although the most fascinating is the site with the ruins of León Viejo (2000), included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site and consisting of what remains of one of the first European settlements, overwhelmed by the lava of repeated eruptions between the 16th and the 17th century. Among the main passions of the Nicaraguan people there are some sports, followed and practiced, such as football and, even more, baseball (beisbol), a true national pastime.