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Masaya (Masaya, Nicaragua)

Last modified: 2021-08-25 by rob raeside
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image by Ivan Sache, 15 May 2017

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The municipality of Masaya (139,701 inhabitants; 14,260 ha), part of Greater Managua, is located 30 km south-west of Managua, on the shore of Lake Masaya and at the foot of volcano Masaya. Masaya is known as Flowers' Town and the Capital of Nicaraguan Folklore.

Masaya was originally settled by the Dirian, a Chorotega people of Mexican origin. Visiting Nindirí and Masaya in 1529, the chronicler Oviedo y Valdés reported that the lake was surrounded by more than 20 settlements, all ruled by Cacique Tenderí. The chronicler claims that Masaya means "the burning mountain" in Chorotega language. Other believe that Masaya means either "the place where we came from" or "the place in the lake region".
The colonial settlement established near the native village of Monimbó was granted in 1819 the title of Royal Town ["Villa"] of San Fernando de Masaya, elevated in 1839 to "ciudad". - Municipal website
Ivan Sache
, 15 May 2017


Masaya flag - Three horizontal stripes of Green, white, green and charged with the arms in the center.
Source: Elisabet Ollé personal observation and photo.
Jaume Ollé, 5 April 2008

The flag of Masaya is horizontally divided green-white-green with the municipal coat of arms in the middle. - Municipal website

Ivan Sache
, 15 May 2017

Coat of Arms

image contributed by Fred Drews, 21 March 2006

Masaya Department uses the same coat of arms as the city of Masaya.
Fred Drews, 21 March 2006

The municipal coat of arms is described by Enrique Bolaños Geyer (b. 1928; President of the Republic, 2002-2007) in a letter sent on 29 December 1999 to the Mayor of Masaya, Fernando Padilla Algaba.
The original source is a document written by a Jorge Ypsilanti de Moldavia, allegedly living in Guatemala; the author does not appear to be particularly reliable but the description of the arms makes sense. Dr. Pérez Valdivia, expert in heraldry, drawn the arms from the written description.

Coat of arms of the Very Noble and Loyal Town of San Fernando de Masaya
Quarterly, 1. and 4. Gules a castle or, 2. and 3. Argent a lion rampant gules. A bordure azure inscribed with the title granted in 1815 "A LA MUY NOBLE Y LEAL VILLA DE SAN FERNANDO DE MASAYA" in letters or. The shield supported by two lions rampant gules. Beneath the shield a scroll argent inscribed "VIVA EL CORAZÓN DE MARÍA" [Long Live the Heart of Mary] in letters gules. - Enrique Bolaños Foundation
Ivan Sache
, 15 May 2017