This beautiful cathedral is the burial place of the assassinated Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero, martyred hero of the civil war. He was murdered by rightwing paramilitary forces while serving communion the day after he exhorted soldiers to reconsider the senseless killings that were occuring at the time.
The botanical garden is something not to be missed especially in a bustling, fume choked and noise maddened San Salvador. The easy way there is by taxi which took 6USD to achieve. Once inside the atmosphere changes dramatically; surrounded by lush tropical vegetation one forgets about the reality beyond. There are amazing spots of tranquility alongside ponds, under huge trees, and amongst delicate flowers. There are no less curious representatives of the local fauna as well. The way back to Zona Rosa was more adventurous. A local bus driver stopped at a spot that did not look like a bus stop, picked me up and delivered me to the fair grounds for the mere amount of 25 cents; amazing deal which included huddling with the locals on the tiny benches of the bus and watching unwittingly the noisy and visually obnoxious yahoos from foreign lands.
- Jungle and Rain Forest
San Salvador's Palacio Nacional was built in neo-classical style, with Italian marble, in 1905 and was the government headquarters until it was badly damaged by an earthquake in 1986. It has since been renovated.
- Historical Travel
- Road Trip
Mercado de Artesanías is a good place to buy arts, crafts, and souvenirs. It is a 5 minute drive from Zona Rosa. You can ask the taxi to take you there.
They also have many malls. The biggest and grandest one is 'Las Galerías'.
la ruta de las flores
Don´t miss it, possibly the most beautiful part of El Salvador. La ruta de las flores is the name given to a series of little mountain towns in the western part of El Salvador where most of the gourmet coffee is grown. Every little town has it´s charm of it´s own, Nahuizalco famous for its handicrafts, Salcoatitan is the second town, very little and quiet, Juayua where every weekend all the locals do a food fair and the entire town becomes an open air restaurant when you can find local (and exotic) food and international, Apaneca it´s the El Salvador´s high altitude town ( 2600 meters) and fully surrounded by coffee plantations, and it´s the best town to stay at, try the Santa Leticia hotel wichi is an organic coffee plantacion with it´s own archeological treasures, nearby are small lagoons in the site of old volcano craters (laguna verde and laguna de las ninfas), and last Ataco another quite mountain-coffee town, the wheater it´s simply heavenly, and best of all it´s only a 1 hour drive from San Salvador, many tour operators can get you there, you won´t regret it if you are into a quiet hideaway. Don´t expect a bustling nightlife (there isn´t a nightlife) or your avergae "gringo town", it´s quiet, it´s beatiful and not to known until now.
- Mountain Climbing
- Jungle and Rain Forest
Military Musuem at the El Zapote Barracks
The military history of El Salvador may not be for everyone and can be depressing the more you know. In this museum the evolution of weapons and equipment used by the El Salvador Army is shown thru displays in a series of individual rooms. The origins of the weapons spans the globe, including the U.S.
Interesting exhibits include:
1) Domingo Monterrosa Barrios - Commander of the elite Atlacatl Battalion. Does the name El Mozote mean anything to you?
2) "Soccer War" with Honduras.
3) FMLN - Farabundo Marti National Liberation - Weapons used including a U.S. M-16 that ended up in guerillas hands after being lost in Vietnam. The FMLN went to Vietnam for training. Also land mines used during the civil war. Note that we are told that there are no more land mines in El Salvador. But seeing a one-legged man is not uncommon.
4) Popemobile - Built for the Pope's 1983 visit. Said to be the strongest ever built. Built like a tank. Could withinstand a roadside mine blast. These were the worst of times in El Salvador.
5) One corner of the barracks was bombed to quel a revolt during the civil war. This is not part of the tour but someone in-the-know can show you where the shells landed.
6) Relief map of the country of El Salvador.
7) Large park and memorial to heroes of the war of independence from Spain in 1821. Built over a Mayan pyramid with the contours of the pyramid clearly descernable.
8) The old Presidential Palace is visible. Vacated in 2001 after an earthquake compromised its integrity. Now falling into disrepair but plans are to create into a museum.
San Salvador is the capital of the country and hosts more than 800,000 people. The city suffered from as well the many earthquakes as the civil war. Many monuments or historical valuable buildings are not any more. But the few wich are are well restored.
Visit the Arbol de Dios Gallery and Shop
Fernando Llort, one of El Salvador's most famous artists has a wonder gallery, restaurant and gift shop that I have visited on three occasions. The original pieces in the gallery range from US$100 to $3000. The prints run less than $100. I bought a framed print in the gift shop for about $47. There are also shirts, tablets, books and ceramic tiles available. I purchase two 8" square tiles with Llorts artwork on them which I will use for a bathroom remodel soon.
National Anthropological Museum
New building to house salvadorean archeological treasures. The museum is divided into 5 halls tracing the history, traditions, culture and religion in El Salvador from the Mayas to our time. Excellent place to start learning about this country. The museum guides are very friendly and offer guided visits in spanish and english. Great petrogligh and sculpture garden.
We were quite surprised when we went to the Museum of Modern Art in San Salvador. We didn't expect to see such a collection of fine art! It's really a treat for people who like Modern Art. The museum's got sculptures, paintings and other wonderful stuff. Really worth a visit!
- Luxury Travel
- Museum Visits
- Arts and Culture
ATACO, is an small town, 2 hours away from capital area, they call the route of the flowers, it is the road that they drive to address to ATACO.
Complete name of the town is: CONCEPCION DE ATACO, before you arrived there are several towns that you can visit, and tows have many hand crafts.
Beautiful colors, cloths, souvenirs, folk crafts. It is a nice trip.
- Family Travel
- Food and Dining
- Arts and Culture
Visit Souchi -- a short hop from the capital
This lovely village is close to San Salvador. Besides the view of Lake Souchitan, the town is filled with interesting contemporary art. The Posado is a great place to stay and provides a lovely setting for a meal overlooking the lake. There's a tiny vest-pocket park that is filled with unique sculpture.
A visit to old San Salvador...
A visit to old San Salvador must include the National Palace, Cathedral, National Theatre, and several chuches among them: El Calvario, Don Rua, San Francisco, la Basilica Sagrada Familia. Downtown San Salvador is undergoing a long recovery and clean up process, many historical buildings are being restored, the streets are being cleaned up and street vendors relocated. It's an ongoing process so much still remains to be done. The area is bustling with activity, traffic, people, etc. The Casa de la Cultura del Centro is a cultural center locted in an old 19th century house where art shows, theatre presentations, poetry readings and other events take place. The Mercado Cuartel is the handicrafts market, where you can buy all kinds of traditional items - the vendors expect you to bargain the prices!
A unique place in San Salvador is the Botanical Gardens of La Laguna. They are set in the crater of an extinct volcano and provide a relaxing natural haven for thousands of native plants. The beautiful landscaped gardens, the lush vegetation, a small piece of forest, wild animals, birds and butterflies provide a relaxing and worthwhile experience.
Fernando Llort's Gallery
One of the most famous Salvadoran artists, Fernando Llort's is known as the artist who designed the mural around the Nat'l Cathedral in San Salvador. Although one of his many styles of art has been imprinted on Salvadoran culture through the painted wooden objects created in La Palma and sold everywhere as a favorite souvenir, Llort's styles and media are varied. A trip to the gallery is a great way to discover the richness of his sculpture and paintings. Believe it or not they are reasonably priced (given what masterpieces they are) and a wonderful keepsake of El Salvador.
The National Cathedral
The cathedral's blue and yellow zig-zag dome is visible even before you reach downtown. The exterior mural by Fernando Llort is the visual highlight but visiting the tomb of Romero who was brutally murdered for his outspoken support of human rights during the civil war is the most moving feature.
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