Volcan Masaya
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Staring Into the Mouth of Hell
The wealthy, children, and beautiful virgins of centuries past were often chosen to face Masaya - a complex volcano comprised of two volcanos and five craters - head on. Indigenous peoples sacrificed these chosen few in hopes that a hag deity who they believed lived in the volcano would advise them. When the Spanish arrived, they didn’t have the same reverence for Masaya, seeing it instead as “The Mouth of Hell”. In 1529, Friar Francisco Bobadilla ordered the construction of a cross nearby in an effort to exorcise the devil from the volcano’s belly.
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