Founded in pre-Columbian times by Olmec
immigrants from modern Mexico
, Somoto is the economic and cultural heart of Madriz. It has also become a growing tourist centre since the discovery of Somoto Canyon
, located 13 km (8 miles) west of the city. Somoto Municipality has a total population of 39,821, with 21,021 people living in the urban area and 18,800 in 48 nearby communities.
It is known as La Flor de Henequén
(the Flower of Henequen
) as a result of the cultivation of this crop in the city's environs. It is also renowned for its production of rosquillas somoteñas
, crispy corn biscuits with a variety of flavours.
Somoto was settled by Olmec
peoples from Mexico, and subsequently inhabited by Chorotegas
. The name Somoto originates from the Nahuatl Tépecxomotl
, meaning 'Valley of Geese', while Spanish royal decrees of 1591 give the city's name as Santiago de Tepesomoto. Although the city is now universally known as Somoto, the name Tepesomoto
is retained by the volcano overlooking the city to the south and its surrounding Tepesomoto-La Patasta Nature Reserve.
Somoto was granted town status in January 1867 and city status in March 1895. It has been the capital city of Madriz since that department's separation from Nueva Segovia
in November 1936.
parochial church, formally the Temple of Saint James the Apostle (Templo Santiago Apostól
), was established in the heart of Somoto in 1661 opposite the city's parque central
(central park); it is therefore one of Nicaragua's oldest surviving church buildings, pre-dating the Cathedral of León
by 86 years. However the present façade and bell tower were constructed as recently as 1875.
Somoto is also located near the Cacaulí Sanctuary, a site for religious pilgrimage since a boy claimed to have seen the Virgin Mary while collecting firewood in 1990.
Somoto still has fewer than 10 hotels and is not a major stop on the Central American backpacker circuit. Tourists visit Somoto primarily to go tubing in the Monumento Nacional Cañón de Somoto
. The Cañón de Somoto is featured on the 50 cordoba banknote and has been mentioned in both the Lonely Planet and Tripadvisor.
Somoto is often credited with being the birthplace of the Rosquilla. A traditional Nicaraguan snack, Rosquillas are made by making rings of cornmeal with a cane sugar center and baking them in large wood-fired cob ovens. Day tours of the Rosquilla factory in Somoto can be arranged and may include samples and a hands-on lesson in their preparation and history.
Somoto also has links with the following:
- Lasarte-Oria, Basque Country, Spain
- Llodio, Basque Country, Spain
- Leganés, Madrid, Spain
- Vic, Catalonia, Spain
- Fougères, Brittany, France
- ^ Citypopulation.de Population of departments and municipalities in Nicaragua
- ^ a b City of Merced,Merced-Somoto HistoryArchived 2012-08-01 at archive.today
- ^ Via Nica, History of Somoto Rosquillas
- ^ a b Alcaldía de Somoto, History
- ^ Parroquia Santiago de Somoto
- ^ Via Nica, Cacaulí Sanctuary
- ^ Biografías y Vidas,Carlos Mejía Godoy
Last edited on 10 May 2021, at 07:08
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