San Salvador

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San Salvador
National capital
San Salvador Capital City
Office Buildings San Salvador.JPG
Palacio Nacional El Salvador.jpg
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Escudo de San Salvador (1943).svg
Coat of arms
Nuestra Capital – 2011 Ibero-American Capital of Culture
San Salvador municipality in El Salvador.png
San Salvador Municipality in the Country
El Salvador relief location map.jpg
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San Salvador
San Salvador Municipality in the Country
Outline map of Central America.svg
Red pog.svg
San Salvador
San Salvador (Central America)
Coordinates: 13°41′24″N89°11′24″W / 13.69000°N 89.19000°W / 13.69000; -89.19000 Coordinates: 13°41′24″N89°11′24″W / 13.69000°N 89.19000°W / 13.69000; -89.19000
CountryFlag of El Salvador.svg  El Salvador
Department San Salvador Department
Founded byPedro de Alvarado
  TypeDemocratic Republic
  Mayor Ernesto Muyshondt
  National capital72.25 km2 (27.90 sq mi)
651.31 km2 (251.47 sq mi)
658 m (2,159 ft)
(2014 est.)
  National capital281,870
  Density3,900/km2 (10,000/sq mi)
  Metro density3,700/km2 (9,600/sq mi)
Time zone UTC−6 (Central Standard Time)
Area code(s) + 503
HDI (2009)0.829 – very high [2]
HDI (2009)0.829 very high [3]
Website sansalvador.gob.svan Salvador

San Salvador ("Holy Savior") is the capital and the most populous city of El Salvador and its eponymous department. [4] It is the country's political, cultural, educational and financial center. [5] The Metropolitan Area of San Salvador which comprises the capital itself and 13 of its municipalities has a population of 2,404,097.

El Salvador country in Central America

El Salvador, officially the Republic of El Salvador, is the smallest and the most densely populated country in Central America. It is bordered on the northeast by Honduras, on the northwest by Guatemala, and on the south by the Pacific Ocean. El Salvador's capital and largest city is San Salvador. As of 2016, the country had a population of approximately 6.34 million.

San Salvador Department Department in El Salvador

San Salvador is a department of El Salvador in the west central part of the country. The capital is San Salvador, which is also the national capital. The department has North of the Rio Lempa Valley, the "Valle de las Hamacas" and a section of Lake Ilopango. Some of the department's cities that are densely populated are: San Salvador, Ciudad Delgado, Mejicanos, Soyapango, Panchimalco and Apopa. The department covers an area of 886.2 square kilometres (342.2 sq mi) and the last census count in 2017 reported 2,404,097 people. It was classified as a department on June 12, 1824. During the time of the colony, the department was the San Salvador Party, from where territory was taken to make the departments of Chalatenago, La Libertad, Cuscatlán and La Paz. This department produces beans, coffee, sugar cane, etc. for agriculture, on the other hand San Salvador Department holds many headquarters for banking companies in El Salvador and Central America, and for many communication services, also the headquarters of the electric companies are located in the San Salvador Department, last years these companies took a step and started exporting electricity to all Central America. The current mayor of the department is Ernesto Muyshondt (2015-2019)


As a "beta" global city, San Salvador is also an important financial hub of Central America. The city is home to the Concejo de Ministros de El Salvador (Council of Ministries of El Salvador), La Asamblea Legislativa (The Legislative Assembly of El Salvador), the Corte Suprema de Justicia (The Supreme Court), and other governmental institutions, as well as the official residence of the president of the Republic. San Salvador is located in the Salvadoran highlands, surrounded by volcanoes and prone to earthquakes. The city is also home to the Catholic Archdiocese, as well as many Protestant branches of Christianity, including Evangelicals, Latter-day Saints, Baptists, and Pentecostals. San Salvador has the second largest Jewish community in Central America [6] and a small Muslim community.

A global city, also called world city or sometimes alpha city or world center, is a city which is a primary node in the global economic network. The concept comes from geography and urban studies, and the idea that globalization is created, facilitated, and enacted in strategic geographic locales according to a hierarchy of importance to the operation of the global system of finance and trade.

Catholic Church Christian church led by the Bishop of Rome

The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with approximately 1.3 billion baptised Catholics worldwide as of 2017. As the world's "oldest continuously functioning international institution", it has played a prominent role in the history and development of Western civilisation. The church is headed by the Bishop of Rome, known as the pope. Its central administration, the Holy See, is in the Vatican City, an enclave within the city of Rome in Italy.

Baptists denomination of Protestant Christianity

Baptists are Christians distinguished by baptizing professing believers only, and doing so by complete immersion. Baptist churches also generally subscribe to the tenets of soul competency/liberty, salvation through faith alone, scripture alone as the rule of faith and practice, and the autonomy of the local congregation. Baptists generally recognize two ordinances: baptism and the Lord's supper.

San Salvador has been the host city for various regional and international sporting, political, and social events. It hosted the Central American and Caribbean Games in 1935 and 2002, and the Central American Games in 1977 and 1994, as well as the Miss Universe 1975 pageant. San Salvador was also the host city of the 18th Ibero-American Summit, held October 29–31, 2008, the most important sociopolitical event in the Spanish and Portuguese sphere. [7] The Central American Integration System (SICA) has its headquarters in San Salvador. [8] The Central American Bank for Economic Integration (BCIE) also has its headquarters in San Salvador.

The Central American and Caribbean Games are a multi-sport regional championship event, held quadrennial, typically in the middle (even) year between Summer Olympics. The Games are for countries in Central America, the Caribbean, Mexico, and the South American Caribbean countries of Colombia, Guyana, Suriname, and Venezuela.

Central American Games

The Central American Games are a multi-sport regional championships event, held quadrennial, typically in the first year after Summer Olympics. The Games are open for member federations of the Central American Sports Organization ORDECA in Central American countries.

Miss Universe 1975 24th Miss Universe pageant

Miss Universe 1975 the 24th Miss Universe pageant, was held on 19 July 1975 at the National Gymnasium in San Salvador, El Salvador. Anne Marie Pohtamo won the title for Finland, thus making her the second Finnish woman to win the Miss Universe crown after Armi Kuusela, who was the first Miss Universe winner, in 1952. After Spain's Amparo Muñoz resigned the previous year, her successor was crowned by Miss Universe 1972, Kerry Anne Wells of Australia.


San Salvador 1868 Flag San Salvador. Johnson's new chart of national emblems, 1868.jpg
San Salvador 1868 Flag
Liberty Plaza during the early 1950s Plaza Libertad.jpg
Liberty Plaza during the early 1950s
Historic Downtown early 1970s Plaza Morazan.jpg
Historic Downtown early 1970s

Before the Spanish conquest, the Pipil people established their capital, Cuzcatlan, near the current location of San Salvador. Not much is known about Cuzcatlan, as it was abandoned by its inhabitants in an effort to avoid Spanish rule. Under the orders of conquistador Pedro de Alvarado, his associates Gonzalo de Alvarado and Diego de Holguín occupied the empty settlement and began to develop it. Diego de Holguín became the first mayor of San Salvador after the town was founded on April 1, 1525. The town changed location twice, in 1528 and 1545. Originally established in what is now the archaeological site of Ciudad Vieja, north of the present-day city, it was moved to the Valle de Las Hamacas, so named for the intense seismic activity that characterizes it. The new site was chosen because it had more space and more fertile land, thanks to the Acelhuate River. The population of the city remained relatively small until the early 20th century.


Cuzcatlan was a pre-Columbian Nahua state of the postclassical period that extended from the Paz river to the Lempa river, this was the nation that Spanish chroniclers came to call the Pipils/Cuzcatlecs. No codices or written accounts survive that shed light on this señorío, although Spanish chroniclers such as Domingo Juarros, Palaces, Lozano, and others claim that some codices did exist but have since disappeared. Their language (Nawat), art and pyramids revealed that they had significant Mayan and Toltec influence. It is believed that the first settlers to arrive came from the Toltec people in central Mexico.

<i>Conquistador</i> soldiers, explorers, and adventurers primarly at the service of the Spanish Empire, and also to the Portuguese Empire

Conquistador is a term widely used to refer to the knights, soldiers and explorers of the Spanish Empire and the Portuguese Empire. During the Age of Discovery, conquistadors sailed beyond Europe to the Americas, Oceania, Africa, and Asia, conquering territory and opening trade routes. They colonized much of the world for Spain and Portugal in the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries.

Pedro de Alvarado Spanish conquistador, explorer and condottiero

Pedro de Alvarado y Contreras was a Spanish conquistador and governor of Guatemala. He participated in the conquest of Cuba, in Juan de Grijalva's exploration of the coasts of the Yucatán Peninsula and the Gulf of Mexico, and in the conquest of Mexico led by Hernán Cortés. He is considered the conquistador of much of Central America, including Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. Although renowned for his skill as a soldier, Alvarado is known also for the cruelty of his treatment of native populations, and mass murders committed in the subjugation of the native peoples of Mexico.

In January 1885, during the presidency of Dr. Rafael Zaldivar, a group of businessmen and the president's family contributed funds for building the Sara Zaldivar Asylum for Indigents and the Elderly. In 1902, the Hospital Rosales was built, named after its benefactor, Dr. Jose Rosales, a banker who gave his fortune to the hospital and to the orphanage. The hospital's construction was begun by president Carlos Ezeta and finished during the presidency of Tomás Regalado. In 1905 president Pedro José Escalón initiated construction of the National Palace, funded by coffee exportation taxes. The Monumento a los Próceres de 1811 (Monument to the Heroes of 1811), located in the Plaza Libertad, and the Teatro Nacional were built in 1911 during Dr. Manuel Enrique Araujo's presidency.

In 1917, an earthquake during an eruption of the nearby San Salvador volcano (also known as Quetzaltepec) damaged the city, but it escaped additional damage because the lava flowed down the back side of the volcano. On December 2, 1931, president Arturo Araujo was ousted by a military coup d'état and replaced by a military directorate. The directorate named vice-president Maximiliano Hernández Martínez as president and Araujo went into exile. The Martínez regime lasted from December 4, 1931 to May 6, 1944.

San Salvador (volcano) mountain in El Salvador

The San Salvador Volcano is a stratovolcano situated northwest to the city of San Salvador. The crater has been nearly filled with a relatively newer edifice, the Boquerón volcano. San Salvador is adjacent to the volcano and the western section of the city actually lies among its slopes. Due to this close proximity, any geological activity of the volcano, whether eruptive or not, has the potential to result in catastrophic destruction and death to the city. Despite this, the volcano is iconic of the city, and several TV and radio antennas are situated on the El Picacho peaks and the crater of Boqueron. El Picacho, the prominent peak is the highest elevation.

Arturo Araujo President of El Salvador

Arturo Araujo Fajardo was the president of El Salvador from March 1, 1931 to December 2, 1931. He was overthrown in a military coup led by junior officers, and was forced to flee the country for Guatemala. An agricultural leader and engineer, Araujo had been elected in what is generally reckoned as the country's first honest presidential contest.

Coup détat Sudden deposition of a government

A coup d'état, also known as a putsch, a golpe, or simply as a coup, means the overthrow of an existing government; typically, this refers to an illegal, unconstitutional seizure of power by a dictator, the military, or a political faction.

In 1964, the Christian Democratic Party (PDC) candidate, José Napoleon Duarte, an engineer, was elected mayor; he served from 1964 to 1970. During his term he ordered construction of the Pancho Lara park in the Vista Hermosa neighborhood, renewed the electrical grid, and set up a system of schools for adult education. The 1960s to the 1980s were the golden age of San Salvador in all aspects of security, quality of life, and modernization.

Electrical grid Interconnected network for delivering electricity from suppliers to consumers

An electrical grid, or electric grid, is an interconnected network for delivering electricity from producers to consumers. It consists of

Adult education Any form of learning adults engage in beyond traditional schooling

Adult education is a practice in which adults engage in systematic and sustained self-educating activities in order to gain new forms of knowledge, skills, attitudes, or values. It can mean any form of learning adults engage in beyond traditional schooling, encompassing basic literacy to personal fulfillment as a lifelong learner.

Today the tallest building in the country has 28 floors and is 110 meters high. With the commencement of the Salvadoran Civil War in the 1980s, many modernization projects were halted. Examples of suspended projects include a 40-story government building approximately 160 meters in height, and the Sheraton Hotel Tower, a 26-story building with a rotating restaurant on top.

In 1969, celebrations in the Cuscatlán stadium were held in honor of the returning troops from the Football War with Honduras. The Boulevard de los Héroes (Boulevard of the Heroes) was named after the Salvadoran soldiers who fought there. The 1986 San Salvador earthquake destroyed many government buildings and other important structures, injuring and killing hundreds. Thousands of people were displaced by the disaster and many struggled to find shelter in the ruins.

In 1986, Mayor Morales Ehrlich closed streets in the downtown of the city to create a large pedestrian mall, which has resulted in chronic traffic congestion. Since 2009, Mayor Norman Quijano has worked for the redevelopment of parks and historic buildings in the Rescate del Centro Histórico, which involves the removal of street vendors. This has led to several riots in the area, but he has managed to place the vendors in new markets where they can operate their own stalls. The Chapultepec Peace Accords were signed on January 16, 1992, ending 12 years of civil war. The signing is celebrated as a national holiday with people flooding downtown San Salvador in the Plaza Gerardo Barrios and in La Libertad Park.

Municipal government

San Salvador as darkness descends on the greater metropolitan area. Atardecer de San Salvador desde Los Planes de Renderos.jpg
San Salvador as darkness descends on the greater metropolitan area.

The cities in El Salvador, by constitutional provision (Article 203), are economically and administratively autonomous. San Salvador is governed by a council consisting of a mayor (elected by direct vote every three years, with an option to be re-elected), a trustee and two or more aldermen whose number varies in proportion to the population of the municipality. Mayor Bukele, a member of the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front party, is accompanied by a trustee, 12 aldermen, four substitute aldermen, and a secretary. The functions and powers of this government are framed within the rules of the Municipal Code. San Salvador's government is composed of various departments, including the departments of festivals, parks, cemeteries, and finance. To safeguard the interests of the municipality, there is a board of metropolitan agents. Each of the six city districts also has a government department. The mayor is a member of the Council of Mayors of the Metropolitan Area of San Salvador (COAMSS), composed of fourteen local councils that make up the area known as Greater San Salvador.

Satellite image of Great San Salvador. East (right) of the city lies Lake Ilopango, and to the west (left) rises the San Salvador volcano. The beaches of the Central American Pacific coast (bottom) lie just south of the city. San Salvador From Space.jpg
Satellite image of Great San Salvador. East (right) of the city lies Lake Ilopango, and to the west (left) rises the San Salvador volcano. The beaches of the Central American Pacific coast (bottom) lie just south of the city.

City mayors since 1964

Municipal districts

The San Salvador Municipality is naturally delimited by the Acelhuate River on the east, the San Jacinto Hill on the south east, the lower highlands of the Balsam Range on the South, El Picacho Mountain and the Bicentennial Park on the West, and North by the San Antonio River. The municipality is further subdivided into districts governed by the municipal mayor (Nayib Bukele since May 1, 2015) and by a District board. There are seven districts in San Salvador, Districts 1–6 and the Historic Downtown.

The six districts:

Total Population in all Six Districts: 567,788


The city is located in the Boquerón Volcano Valley, a region of high seismic activity. The city's average elevation is 659 metres (2,162 feet) above sea level, but ranges from a highest point of 1,186 metres (3,891 feet) above sea level to a lowest point of 596 m (1,955 ft) above sea level. The municipality is surrounded by these natural features of the landscape: southward by the Cordillera del Balsamo (Balsam Mountain Range); westward by the Boquerón Volcano and Cerro El Picacho, the highest point in the municipality at 1,929 m (6,329 ft). El Boquerón Volcano was dormant since its last eruption in 1917, but has been active recently. East of the municipality lies the San Jacinto Hill and the caldera of Lake Ilopango, the largest natural body of water in the country with an area of 72 square kilometres (28 square miles). The caldera is seismically active, but has not erupted since 1880.


View of Lake Ilopango and the eastern the San Salvador Valley Lago Ilopango desde Cojutepeque 2011.jpg
View of Lake Ilopango and the eastern the San Salvador Valley

San Salvador has a tropical wet and dry climate under the Köppen climate classification, and enjoys very warm to hot weather all year round, with daily mean temperatures of 27 °C or 80.6 °F. Its weather cools from the months of November through February due to seasonal winds of the dry season. During these months one can expect a daily mean of 22.2 °C (72.0 °F). The hottest months of the year are April and May, during the transition from the dry season (November to April), to the rainy season (May to October). In April and May average maximum temperatures reach 32.2 °C (90.0 °F). The highest reading ever recorded was 38.5 °C (101.3 °F), the lowest was 8.2 °C (46.8 °F). The highest dew point was 27 °C (81 °F) and the lowest −10 °C (14 °F). Thunderstorms occur almost daily during the rainy season, mostly in the afternoon and through the night—by morning the sky clears and the days are usually sunny till the afternoon storms.

Climate data for San Salvador (Ilopango International Airport) 1953–1990, extremes 1957–present
Record high °C (°F)36.0
Average high °C (°F)30.3
Daily mean °C (°F)22.2
Average low °C (°F)16.3
Record low °C (°F)11.9
Average precipitation mm (inches)5
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.1 mm)111513202020201642123
Average relative humidity (%)66646770808481838682767176
Mean monthly sunshine hours 3012772942432201742392571802112672942,957
Source #1: Hong Kong Observatory (average temperatures and precipitation), [9] NOAA, [10] Deutscher Wetterdienst (humidity, 1973–1993) [11]
Source #2: Danish Meteorological Institute (precipitation days and sun 1931–1960), [12] Meteo Climat (record highs and lows) [13]


San Salvador City on the foot of San Salvador volcano. Panoaa8.jpg
San Salvador City on the foot of San Salvador volcano.
El Boqueron crater, San Salvador Boqueron crater.jpg
El Boquerón crater, San Salvador

San Salvador has a very hilly terrain; there are few parts of the municipality where the elevation is consistent. The city shares many topographic features with neighboring municipalities in the San Salvador and the La Libertad departments.

Flora found in the volcanic region of El Boqueron FLORA BOQUERON.JPG
Flora found in the volcanic region of El Boquerón

Bodies of water

Aerial view of Lake Ilopango caldera Ilopango caldera.jpg
Aerial view of Lake Ilopango caldera

The river nearest San Salvador is the Acelhuate, which is 2.2 km (1.4 mi) long. Although not within the municipality, it forms a natural boundary between San Salvador and Soyapango. The Acelhuate served as a water source for San Salvador during the late 1800s and early 1900s, but due to urbanization is now polluted. There are small streams running down from Lake Ilopango, and a few old aqueduct systems, but the municipality itself has no major bodies of water.


Spanish is the language spoken by virtually all inhabitants. English is spoken more widely than in the past, due mainly to cultural influences from the United States, especially in entertainment, and the large number of Salvadoran emigrants returned from the United States. About 86% of the population is considered to be mestizo, and 12% fall under the category of white, or creole, having mostly Spanish ancestry, and a few of French or German descent.[ citation needed ] Other smaller ethnic groups in the white population are descendants of Swiss, Italians, Syrians, Jews (mostly Sephardic), and Christian Palestinians.

In 2015, San Salvador was projected to have a population of 257,754 inhabitants, accounting for about 3.99% of the country's population, while the metropolitan area had 1,767,102 inhabitants, comprising 27.4% of the country's total population. [14]


Religious background San Salvador
Roman Catholic

The population of San Salvador is predominantly Roman Catholic, with a significant minority of Protestants. There is more diversity of religion than in most Latin American countries. The Protestant population is mostly Evangelical. One of the largest Protestant churches in the city is the Iglesia Cristiana Josue (from the Assemblies of God), another is the Tabernaculo Biblico Bautista, Amigos de Israel (Bible Baptist Tabernacle, Friends of Israel). There is also a considerable population of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, often nicknamed the Mormons. The Mormon community in El Salvador recently built its first temple in El Salvador, a structure of impressive engineering and architecture. There are also smaller Latter-day Saints chapels in Districts 1 and 3.

As in most of the country, Roman Catholicism still plays a prominent role in the celebration of holidays, including Las Fiestas Agostinas (The August Festivals) in honor of Jesus Christ, the patron "saint" of El Salvador, referred to as El Salvador del Mundo (The Savior of the World). These events are becoming less prominent with a sharp decline in the Roman Catholic population during the past decade. San Salvador is also home to about 3,500 Jews; the Jewish community is still robust, but less so since the 1980s, as a large number of them left with the start of the Salvadoran Civil War. Many Jews had migrated to El Salvador during World War II due to the work of José Castellanos Contreras, the Salvadoran diplomatic Consul General in Geneva, Switzerland, who helped a Jewish-Hungarian businessman named Gyorgy Mandl (he later adopted the name George Mantello) save up to 40,000 Jews in Central Europe from the Nazi persecution by giving them Salvadoran nationality papers. The city has a small community of Palestinians, mostly descendants of Palestinian Christian families who immigrated from Palestine in the late 19th and early 20th century, with the highest rate of immigration between 1910 and 1925. [15] The city also has Korean Evangelical Churches that hold services in the Korean language for a growing Korean population.


San Salvador is rich in Spanish heritage, and its historical center contains architecture of a kind not found elsewhere in Latin America.[ citation needed ] The Metropolitan Cathedral was built in the 1950s combining Baroque and eclectic styles of architecture. The National palace, built in 1905, is a mix of Gothic, Neoclassical, and Renaissance Revival architecture.[ citation needed ] The National Theater is the oldest theater in Central America, being built in 1917 in the French Renaissance Revival style with details in the Rococo, Romantic and Art Nouveau architectural styles. The building contains three levels of seats, including a Presidential box at the center of the second level, and has seating for 650 people. The structure is surmounted by an ellipsoidal dome, the interior of which is adorned with a mural painted by Carlos Cañas and a crystal chandelier.

San Salvador is also home to the museum Museo de Arte de El Salvador (MARTE), whose collection includes artworks dating from the mid-19th century to the contemporary era.[ citation needed ] The museum has held temporary exhibitions of works by internationally renowned artists like Picasso, Rembrandt, Salvador Dalí and Joan Miró. The Museo Nacional de Antropología (MUNA) or National Museum of Anthropology, founded in 1883 by Dr. David J. Guzmán, has exhibits on human settlements, agriculture, artisans, commerce and trade, religion, arts and communication. The museum aims to foster cultural awareness for Salvadorans through exhibitions, research, publications and educational programs. In 2011, the Union of Ibero-American Capital Cities or Unión de Ciudades Capitales Iberoamericanas (UCCI), selected San Salvador as a "Latin American capital of culture", recognizing San Salvador's cultural diversity. The city government is restoring the downtown area, with the goal of celebrating the city's past and promoting cultural diversity.

City Symbols

The symbols of the city are the shield, flag, anthem, and staff of office. The first three were created as a result of a contest launched in 1943. The shield (designed by the painter José Mejía Vides) is divided into four quadrants: the two quadrants at the top right and bottom left have blue and white fields symbolizing the national flag; the top left quadrant displays a symbolic emerald necklace; and the lower right contains the bell of the Church of La Merced, representing the birth of El Salvador's independence movement in 1811, when José Matías Delgado rang the bells.

The flag was designed at the request of the city government. The anthem was written by Carlos Bustamante (lyrics) and Ciriaco de Jesús Alas (music).

The municipal staff shows a series of figures and symbols relating to local history. From top to bottom these images are: a native Amerindian, first mayor Diego de Olguín, Carlos V of Spain, the Royal Decree which gave San Salvador its name, Mayor Antonio Gutiérrez, the priest José Matías Delgado, the seal of liberation of 1811, the 1821 independence seal, the shield of the Municipal Freedom Union, the national emblem, and God.

On May 5, 2015, Mayor Nayib Bukele presented the redesigned city shield and flag. The new city coat of arms is silver as a symbol of purity; it has the National Flag in the center, and a ribbon on the bottom with the date 1834, the year San Salvador was declared capital of Central America. On the sides it has two swords: to the left the sword of Francisco Morazán, and to the right, the sword of Gerardo Barrios, representing his past victories. A crown of laurels encircles the coat of arms, which is also surrounded by 6 stars, representing the 6 districts that form the city.


San Salvador is not only the capital of El Salvador, but also disproportionately concentrates economic activity in the country. The metropolitan area accounts for only 3% of the national territory, yet 70% of public and private investment is made there. The economy of San Salvador, Antiguo Cuscatlán, and Santa Tecla is a mixed one composed mainly of services, private education, banking, business headquartering, and industrial manufacturing. Other municipalities in the metropolitan area depend either on industry, like Soyapango and Ilopango, on public services, like Mejicanos, or on power generation, as in Nejapa and Apopa. The other municipalities have not developed their own economies, however, they have provided the workforce required for industry in neighboring municipalities.

San Salvador, as well as the rest of the country, has used the U.S. dollar as its currency of exchange since 2001. Under the Monetary Integration Law, El Salvador adopted the U.S. dollar as a legal tender along the colon. [16] This decision came about as an attempt to encourage foreign investors to launch new companies in El Salvador, saving them the inconvenience of conversion to other currencies. San Salvador's economy is mostly based on the service and retail sector, rather on industry or manufacturing.

Financial sector

San Salvador is home to the great majority of corporations in the country, and supports many commercial activities including: food and beverage production; the pharmaceutical and chemical industries; the sale of automobiles, handicrafts, and construction materials; as well as appliance repair. Most national companies have their headquarters in San Salvador, which is also home to regional offices for various transnational entities. Unicomer Group, Almacenes Simán, Grupo Roble, Grupo Real, Excel Automotríz, and Grupo Q all have their central offices in San Salvador. Since the early 2010s there has been a boom in the construction of call centers providing services to national and international companies alike.

San Salvador lacks a consolidated financial district; this is mainly due to the lack of urban planning that has plagued the city since the aftermath of the Salvadoran Civil War in 1992. Some clusters have formed, however, in an organic manner; today most of the banking and telecommunications are concentrated along the Alameda Manuel Enrique Araujo in District Two. Various business complexes and towers have sprouted in the commercial districts of Colonia Escalón and Colonia San Benito, both in District Three of the Salvadoran capital.

The World Trade Center San Salvador is located in District 3 (Colonia Escalón) at Avenida Norte and Calle del Mirador. The World Trade Center offers some of the best office locations in the country: it is interconnected to two hotels (one of which is the Crowne Plaza Hotel), a convention center and a commercial center containing retail shops and restaurants. As of October, 2012, the center consists of two towers of 8 levels each, with a total of 13,000 m2 (139,931 sq ft) of office space. Since their completion, the first two towers have maintained a 100 percent occupancy rate with multinational companies, embassies, and firms such as Banco Multisectorial de Inversiones (BMI), Ericsson, Continental Airlines, Microsoft, Inter-American Development Bank, and Banco Promérica maintaining offices there.

Centro Financiero Gigante is a complex of office buildings consisting of five towers, the highest of which is 77 meters (253 feet) tall and has 19 floors. Centro Financiero Gigante is a phased project which began with the construction of the two towers. After several years the number of buildings has increased, and it has become one of the most significant business complexes in San Salvador. The tallest tower is occupied by the Telefónica phone company, the next tallest tower is used by RED Business Communication Systems. The complex also includes the Banco Azteca center, Stream Global Services representing Dell in Central America, The Israeli Embassy of San Salvador, Tigo, call centers, and other small offices and banks. The project started in 1997 with Phase I, the construction of the two tallest towers. In Phase II a seven-story-high tower for the old Dell company in Central America was built, and in Phase III a 12-story-high tower for Tigo and a 10-story-high tower for Telemovil. The final phase was remodeling of the Telemovil building to convert it into the Banco Azteca Center.

Along Alameda Manuel Enrique Araujo there are many businesses, banks, and financial centers, government institutions and museums. These include AFP Confia, the Superior Council of Public Health, the HSBC Central Office, AFP Crecer, the Ministry of Public Works, the Centro Internacional de Feria y Convenciones (International Center of Fairs and Conventions), the Presidential Palace, the Museo Nacional de Antropología David J. Guzman (National Museum of Anthropology), the Banco Promerica Financial Center, the Ministry of Tourism, the Channel 2 & 4 Studio Center, the Channel 6 Studio Center, and the Centro de Compañía de Alumbrado Eléctrico de San Salvador (CAESS-Centro) or Central Electric Lighting Company of San Salvador.


A relatively large proportion of residents have telephones, televisions, and access to the internet, and several communications companies have their headquarters in San Salvador. The largest are Tigo, Claro-Telecom, Movistar-Telefónica, and Digicel.

Services and retail shopping

San Salvador's economy is based mostly on the service sector. San Salvador has many restaurants and shopping malls, including Metrocentro, the largest shopping mall in Central America, as well as retail stores such as Wal-Mart, Office Max, and a Pricesmart warehouse club. The tallest shopping mall in the region, Centro Comercial Galerias, was built around and over an old mansion, La Casona, dating from the late 1950s, which was home to a family of Spanish origin, the Guirolas.


San Salvador has small industrial zones scattered throughout the municipality, although most of them are concentrated in the eastern section near the border with Soyapango. Much of the industry is related to food processing, beverage manufacturing, and sugar refining. Construction materials ranging from ceramic tiles to concrete blocks and concrete are produced in large quantities; plastics extrusion, including the production of piping, is also an important industry.

Industrias La Constancia, El Salvador's largest brewer and bottler of purified water, dominates the Salvadoran export market of beers and bottled water. The company became part of the second largest brewer in the world, SABMiller, in 2005. Its flagship brand is Pilsener, a pilsner style lager beer, the national beer of El Salvador. In 2011, La Constancia centralized its operations and opened its new headquarters in San Salvador, where it moved in 1928 from the Santa Ana Department. The company produces the Agua Cristal brand of bottled water, the best selling in El Salvador and in the Central American region. The Coca-Cola company uses the La Constancia installations to manufacture its beverage brands sold in El Salvador and the rest of Central America.

Unilever, a British–Dutch multinational consumer goods company, has a plant in San Salvador. Its products include foods, beverages, cleaning agents and personal care products. Unilever manufactures all its products sold in Central America in San Salvador.

Urban development

Early colonial development could not anticipate the extensive growth of the city in the following centuries. Thus, the city contains many narrow streets which create traffic problems, and sidewalks are often overcrowded. As the expansion of San Salvador continues, the need for infrastructure improvements becomes more acute.

During the 1960s, urban expansion was most prevalent in the northern and southern parts of the city, while the 1970s saw growth continue further south, north and west. The housing developments of Colonia Miravalle, Montebello, Satellite, Maquilishuat, San Mateo Lomas de San Francisco, Alta Mira, Loma Linda, La Floresta, and Jardines de la Libertad were built during this period.

The expansion of San Salvador, while occurring in all directions, was primarily in the direction of the volcano of San Salvador. The increased demand for housing was due to an increase in the numbers of middle class workers, members of the military, and professionals.

Around 2000, the city expansion westward slowed. There was an expansion of middle-class neighborhoods such as Merliot, Santa Elena and the Tier, but internal migration and the cessation of armed conflict created a high demand for urban public housing. This gave rise to large urban development projects mostly in the east and north, to the phenomenon of "bedroom communities", and to a disorderly growth pattern.


San Salvador's colonial structures, especially its colonial cathedrals, have been destroyed over time by historic earthquakes, consequently Modernist and Gothic style cathedrals have taken their place. During the Salvadoran civil war, large building construction projects were halted and eventually cancelled due to the collapse of the economy; the remainder of early Modernist office and hotel buildings collapsed during the 1986 San Salvador earthquake and the 2001 El Salvador earthquakes, while the few remaining old buildings were left uninhabitable. Only a few large structures have survived the earthquakes, including the Sheraton Presidente San Salvador Hotel and the Hilton Princess San Salvador Hotel. The seismic nature of the San Salvador area has until recently hindered the construction of high rise buildings and skyscrapers in the city; however, with new technological advances and the advent of earthquake-resistant structures, high rise buildings have begun rising over San Salvador. Today the city has monuments, plazas, stadiums, high rise buildings, large malls and cathedrals built in Gothic, Modernist, Populuxe, Googie, Streamline Moderne, Art Deco and Futurist style architecture.

Gothic structures

Modern structures

When built, the Embassy of the United States in El Salvador became the largest U.S. embassy structure in the planet. Built in the middle of the Salvadoran civil war, the U.S. embassy was constructed to act like a citadel-like compound, with highly secured fortified walls around its perimeter and several underground levels below the complex. The old U.S. embassy collapsed during the 1986 San Salvador earthquake and was abandoned. The new modern embassy to this day still stands among one of the largest U.S. embassies in the world. Despite its large size, the facility was designed with a friendly facade of traditional Salvadoran colonial house, to wear off intrusivity in the concluding Cold War years. Embassy of the United States of America in San Salvador, El Salvador.jpg
When built, the Embassy of the United States in El Salvador became the largest U.S. embassy structure in the planet. Built in the middle of the Salvadoran civil war, the U.S. embassy was constructed to act like a citadel-like compound, with highly secured fortified walls around its perimeter and several underground levels below the complex. The old U.S. embassy collapsed during the 1986 San Salvador earthquake and was abandoned. The new modern embassy to this day still stands among one of the largest U.S. embassies in the world. Despite its large size, the facility was designed with a friendly facade of traditional Salvadoran colonial house, to wear off intrusivity in the concluding Cold War years.

Populux, Googie, Streamline Moderne and Art Deco structures

Control tower at the El Jabali international Autodromo El Jabali B.jpg
Control tower at the El Jabalí international Autodromo

Futurist structures

Dr. Prudencio Llach Observatory Asociacion Salvadorena de Astronomia Observatorio "Dr. Prudencio Llach".jpg
Dr. Prudencio Llach Observatory

Tourism and sites of interest

Historic Downtown

The historic downtown of San Salvador includes the area where the capital city of El Salvador has been located since the 16th century. The original buildings of the Spanish colony have been mostly destroyed by natural disasters over the years. The few notable surviving buildings were erected in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Mayor Norman Quijano started several large projects with the goal of restoring the former grandeur of the buildings in the center. One such project is to reroute the public transportation routes so they no longer pass through the historic downtown. Another project is the relocation of illegal street vendors to a designated public market.

National Palace

The current National Palace building replaced the old National Palace built in 1866–1870, which was destroyed by fire on December 19, 1889. The construction, done between 1905 and 1911, was the work of engineer José Emilio Alcaine, under the direction of the foreman Pascasio González Erazo. To finish the project, legislation was passed that collected one colon for every quintal of coffee exported. The materials used were imported from several European countries including Germany, Italy and Belgium. The Palace's facilities were occupied by government offices until 1974.

The building contains four main rooms and 101 secondary rooms; each of the four main rooms has a distinctive color. The Red Room (Salon Rojo) is used for receptions held by the Salvadoran Foreign Ministry, and the ceremonial presentation of ambassadors' credentials. It has been used for ceremonial purposes since the administration of General Maximiliano Hernández Martínez. The Yellow Room (Salon Amarillo) is used as an office for the President of the Republic, while the Pink Room (Salon Rosado) housed the Supreme Court and later the Ministry of Defense. The Blue Room (Salon Azul) was the meeting place of the Legislature of El Salvador from 1906, and its classical architecture with Ionian, Corinthian and Roman elements is notable. The room is now called the Salvadoran Parliament in commemoration of its former purpose, and was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1974.

Metropolitan Cathedral

San Salvador Cathedral, facing Plaza Barrios in the city centre Fachada de Catedral Metropolitana de San Salvador.jpg
San Salvador Cathedral, facing Plaza Barrios in the city centre

The Metropolitan Cathedral of the Holy Savior (Catedral Metropolitana de San Salvador) is the principal church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of San Salvador and the seat of the Archbishop of San Salvador. The church was twice visited by Pope John Paul II, who said that the cathedral was "intimately allied with the joys and hopes of the Salvadoran people." During his visits in 1983 and 1996, the Pope knelt and prayed before the Tomb of Archbishop Óscar Romero, assassinated in 1980, whose tomb here is a major draw for pilgrims. The Cathedral's site is the location of the old Temple of Santo Domingo (St. Dominic).

Forty four people died on Palm Sunday, March 31, 1980, during the funeral of Archbishop Romero, as a result of a stampede after some gunmen, allegedly members of security forces (although it has never been corroborated), fired on mourners and on Romero's funeral cortege. The gunmen were never identified. The square in front of the Cathedral was the site of celebrations after the signing of the Chapultepec Peace Accords that ended the Salvadoran Civil War in 1992. The Cathedral was finished off with a festive tiled ceramic mural façade by the Salvadoran master Fernando Llort and inaugurated on March 19, 1999. In late December 2012, the Archbishop of San Salvador, José Luis Escobar Alas, ordered the removal of the façade without consulting the national government or the artist himself. Workers chipped off and destroyed all the 2,700 tiles of the mural. [17]

National Theater

National Theater of El Salvador Teatro Nacional San Salvador.jpg
National Theater of El Salvador

The Teatro Nacional de El Salvador, or National Theater of El Salvador, is the oldest theater in Central America. It was designed by the French architect Daniel Beylard, with construction starting on November 3, 1911. The building was inaugurated on March 1, 1917. It is of French Renaissance style with modern touches, and was decorated by the Italian architect Lucio Cappellaro. Its Grand Hall is considered one of the most beautiful and elegant halls in Central America.

The National Theater is located on the southern side of Francisco Morazán Plaza on Calle Delgado. It was built in the French Renaissance style with details done in the Rococo, Romantic, and Art Nouveau styles, and can seat 650 spectators in the Grand Hall. It has balconies on three levels—the Presidential Balcony, located between the third and second Floor, has a direct view of center stage. The building features an ellipsoidal dome containing a mural by painter Carlos Cañas and a crystal chandelier; other impressive spaces include the Chamber Hall and the Grand Foyer. The theater is open to tourists, and after the Historic Downtown Restoration has been used for plays, shows, operas, song recitals, and modern dance performances. It is the largest and most luxurious theater in Central America, and was declared a National Monument in 1979.

Calle Arce

Calle Arce (named after General Jose Manuel Arce, first president of the Federal Republic of Central America) is a major street in San Salvador. Mayor Norman Quijano inaugurated the first phase of its redevelopment near the Plaza de la Salud, which focuses on improvements to the sidewalks between 21st and 19th Avenida Norte. Twelve antique lights, originally from Spain and dating from 1900, will be installed, along with six benches and 40 trees.

At the same time, sidewalks will be renovated with ramps to provide access for people with disabilities and seniors. Calle Arce is monitored by 24 members of the Corps Metropolitan Agents (CAM), who specialize in the maintenance and protection of the new public space.

Parks and plazas

Gerardo Barrios' statue Estatua de Gerardo Barrios.jpg
Gerardo Barrios' statue
Plaza Gerardo Barrios

La Plaza Gerardo Barrios, also known as the Civic Plaza, is located in the heart of the city. The statue that dominates the site, designed by Francisco Durini Cáseres, is dedicated to President Gerardo Barrios and was unveiled in 1909. It was the work of the sculptors Antonio and Carlos Ezeta, who were brothers. The figure, made of bronze, is placed on a pedestal of granite and depicts battle scenes and the shield of El Salvador.

Plaza Gerardo Barrios is the site of many demonstrations and political rallies. Mass is celebrated there as well, and it is the destination of many parades. The plaza is also the focal point for celebrations accompanying the feast of San Salvador on August 5 and 6. The religious procession called El Descenso ("The Descent"), dedicated to the Divine Savior of the World and representing the resurrection of Jesus and his descent from the tomb, terminates there.

Plaza Libertad

Plaza Libertad is the location of the Monumento de los Héroes (Monument to the Heroes), a commemoration of the centenary of the "First Cry of Independence" in 1811. The monument, designed by Francisco Durini Cáseres, and installed in 1911, is crowned by an "angel of freedom" at its pinnacle holding a laurel wreath in both hands. As a consequence of increased commercial activity, the area around the plaza was enhanced with the construction of two ornate buildings, the Portal la Dalia in 1915–1916 and the Portal de Occidente in 1917.

Plaza Morazán

During the administration of President Rafael Zaldivar, the Salvadoran government ordered the erection of a marble statue here to commemorate the fortieth anniversary (March 15, 1882) of the death of Francisco Morazán, former president of the Federal Republic of Central America. The sculpture was created by the artist Francisco Durini Vasalli originally of Tremona, Italy. The government declared March 15 as a day of national civic celebration, and Morazan's son attended the inauguration as a representative of the Government of Honduras.

Casa Dueñas

This important residential building was built in the 1920s by coffee farmer Miguel Dueñas. The government confiscated the house in 1922 to cover the owner's debts, and it then remained unoccupied for years. From 1930 to 1933, Mexico leased the house for use by its diplomatic delegation, then from 1935 to 1957 the United States legation rented the house for its ambassadors' residence. Six successive U.S. ambassadors resided there, and occasional guests such as former Presidents Richard Nixon and Lyndon B. Johnson, Senator Robert Kennedy, and movie stars Clark Gable and Tony Curtis stayed there. After 1957 it was the temporary headquarters of an advertising agency, then was vacated again in 1960. In 1973 the Department of Vocational Training Ministry of Labor occupied the structure; in 1986 it was declared a Cultural Asset by an Executive Agreement of May 8, 1985. The Ministry of Labor transferred the property to the authorities of the Ministry of Education, with a directive to explore the possibility of its restoration and rehabilitation. The restoration work began in 2001 under the leadership of Dr. Alfredo Martínez Moreno, former director of the Salvadorean Language Academy and the Royal Spanish Academy.

Convention centers

Centro Internacional de Ferias y Convenciones (CIFCO) CIFCO SS.JPG
Centro Internacional de Ferias y Convenciones (CIFCO)

The Centro Internacional de Ferias y Convenciones (CIFCO) is a multipurpose convention center in the Colonia San Benito-Zona Rosa (District 3), 5 miles (8.0 km) from the Historic Downtown of San Salvador (District 1), in a residential area with good transportation facilities and easy access to first class hotels. The center is affiliated with the Union of International Fairs (UFI) and the Association of International Fairs of America (AFIDA), and is regarded as the largest and most modern convention center in Central America.

The CIFCO amphitheater is one of the most important performance venues in San Salvador, hosting many concerts and international artists. It has a capacity of 15,000 persons. A renovation lasting from 2003 until 2010 added five pavilions, a three-level underground parking for 3,500 vehicles, and hotels. Goals of CIFCO include:

  • Support the international exchange of technological, commercial and industrial ideas
  • Plan and organize conventions for exhibitors from the realms of commerce, industry and tourism
  • Provide a pleasant environment for guests and visitors
  • Promoting the image of El Salvador both nationally and internationally


San Salvador has many museums. The two largest and most popular are Museo Nacional de Antropología de El Salvador (MUNA) and Museo de Arte de El Salvador (MARTE). MUNA's mission is to help Salvadorans reflect on their cultural identity through exhibitions, research, publications and educational programs in the fields of archeology and anthropology. The museum's exhibits demonstrate social processes of the various human cultural groups that have inhabited El Salvador. MARTE's mission is to contribute to development of the country's education and culture through the conservation and dissemination of its artistic heritage, and by improving historical knowledge, reaffirming cultural values that shape the Salvadoran identity, and promoting new artistic idioms. MARTE is a private, nonprofit organization, opened on May 22, 2003. Since then the museum has become an essential element of the cultural life of Central America, with its representative view of art from the mid-19th century to contemporary times. [18] [19]

A different sort of museum, but equally popular, is the Tin Marín Museo de los Niños (Tin Marin Children's Museum), located between Gimnasio Nacional José Adolfo Pineda and Parque Cuscatlán. [20] Tin Marín seeks to contribute to children becoming integral and creative citizens through significant learning, cultural stimulation and entertaining experimentation. [21] The museum has more than 25 exhibits, including The Airplane, The Grocery Store, and the Planetarium.


Estadio Cuscatlán, with a capacity of over 45,000, is the largest soccer venue not only in Central America, but in the Caribbean as well.[ citation needed ] It was announced on November 16, 2007, that Estadio Cuscatlán would become the first soccer stadium in Central America and the Caribbean to have a large LED screen,[ citation needed ] on which spectators can view the action. The screen is 40 meters in height and width and was completed in March 2008. The stadium was built in the early 1970s just before the beginning of the civil war, intended to jump-start an era of modernization in San Salvador, but development in the country ground to a halt during the 12 years of war.

Another major stadium is the Estadio Nacional de la Flor Blanca, with a capacity of 32,000. This stadium hosted the Central American and Caribbean Games in 2002, in which El Salvador came in 6th place among 37 countries.

Mágico González Stadium

San Salvador is currently the home of three major soccer teams in the Primera División (El Salvador): Alianza F.C., C.D. Atlético Marte and C.D. Universidad de El Salvador. Alianza F.C. and Atlético Marte play their home games at Estadio Cuscatlán, and C.D. Universidad de El Salvador plays theirs at Estadio Universitario UES. Alianza is well known throughout El Salvador for its loyal supporters and for the exuberant atmosphere created during games.

Major tourist attractions


San Salvador has numerous private high schools, including Protestant and Catholic high schools, as well as secular ones; the city also has numerous private bilingual schools. It Also has several higher education institutions.


San Salvador is a major regional transportation hub, served by a comprehensive public transport network. Major routes of the national transportation network run through the city.


The country's primary airport is Monseñor Óscar Arnulfo Romero International Airport, which handles all international flights. It replaced Ilopango as the country's main airport in 1980.

Ilopango International Airport NUEVA TERMINAL.jpg
Ilopango International Airport


Construction of the first expressway/freeway in El Salvador, RN-21 (Boulevard Diego Holguin) DHelsalvador002.jpg
Construction of the first expressway/freeway in El Salvador, RN-21 (Boulevard Diego Holguin)

San Salvador has excellent transportation connectivity, due to its extensive road network and its street maintenance system. The Inter-American Development Bank has determined that San Salvador has one of the best road systems in Latin America.[ citation needed ] San Salvador's metropolitan road system handles approximately 400,000 vehicles per day.

The main highway passing through San Salvador is the CA-1 (Pan-American highway), which at one point becomes Bulevar Arturo Castellanos. The RN-21 (Bulevar Monseñor Romero) is a major east–west road connecting the cities of Santa Tecla and Antiguo Cuscatlán, finally merging in San Salvador with the RN-5 East/West (also known as Bulevar los Próceres), that later turns into the North/South RN-5 heading towards the International Airport. Another major roadway is the RN-4 (Carretera Este Oeste) which runs from San Salvador through Apopa, and subsequently merges with the CA-1 Panamericana.

RN-5 Los Proceres East/West Volcano San Salvador 1960.jpg
RN-5 Los Próceres East/West
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El Salvador International Airport

Roads in the capital are called "street" if they run east-west, and "avenue" if they run north-south. Road numbering starts at the downtown intersection of Avenida Espana/Avenida Cuscatlán and Delgado Arce street. Avenues to the west of this intersection have odd-number names, and to the east they have even-number names. Streets have odd-number names if they are to the north of the intersection, and even-number names if to the south.

One particularly heavily traveled road is 49a Avenida Norte, which connects with the RN-5 highway to the airport. An important historical street is Calle Arce, which was closed in order to create a pedestrian-only mall in the historic downtown of San Salvador. Some streets in the city are very narrow with little room for cars to pass, although many streets are wide. Speed limits are 90 km/h (56 mph) on highways, 60 km/h (37 mph) on main roads, and 40 km/h (25 mph) on secondary streets and avenues.


The San Salvador Metropolitan Area Integrated System of Transportation (SITRAMSS) is a proposed high-volume bus transportation system. The first route of the SITRAMSS will make a round trip from San Martin, through Ilopango, Soyapango, San Salvador, and Antiguo Cuscatlan to Santa Tecla. It is projected that between 40 and 60 busses capable of carrying 160 passengers per trip will start operating in the second half of 2013. [22] The departure interval will be approximately eight to ten minutes. [23] By the time the buses have reached the San Salvador historic downtown they will have already transported 20,000 passengers. SITRAMSS is a public-private partnership involving the current passenger transport operators, who must purchase the busses. To pay for the infrastructure development, a loan of $50 million has been provided by the Inter-American Development Bank (BID). The system will work with a prepaid card system which is expected to reduce the time required for passengers to enter the busses. An estimated 200,000 passengers will be transported daily, or about 5,600,000 every month. [23]

Bus and Taxi

SITRAMSS bus system Buses-ssitams.jpg
SITRAMSS bus system

Approximately 200,000 people use the city's public bus system daily. Some of the bus transportation system is operated by the city government, but most of it is operated by the private sector. This mixture of ownership has contributed to safety and traffic problems. In 2013, when the SITRAMS commences operation, it will resolve many of these problems. [24] Bus rides typically cost between $0.20 and $0.25, depending on the route. The city government operates a free bus system for use by handicapped, elderly, and pregnant persons; this is the only such system in Central America.

A taxi system operates throughout the entire city; fares depend on the route, as taxi drivers charge based on the location of the destination, rather than on elapsed time. Taxis in San Salvador are yellow, and the fleet is composed primarily of Toyota Corollas.


Railway service was absent during the 1990s, but beginning on October 1, 2007, the National Railways of El Salvador (FENADESAL) resumed service. Tickets cost $0.10. Trains depart from near the East Bus Station and travel to the town of Apopa (servise suspended from 2013). There are plans to start operation of another route, connecting the northern side of San Salvador, Cuscatancingo, to Apopa and from Apopa, to the city of Nejapa.

There is also a historic railroad consisting of railroad cars from the 1960s which were refurbished and put into operation by the ministry of tourism. Once a month, visitors can board the antique train and experience the way San Salvadorans transported themselves in the 1960s.


Salvador del Mundo fallen from its pedestal SalvadorDelMundoCaido.jpg
Salvador del Mundo fallen from its pedestal
The Gran Hotel HotelSanSalvador.jpg
The Gran Hotel

The city has suffered from many severe earthquakes, the most disastrous of which occurred in 1854. The San Salvador volcano erupted again in 1917, [25] resulting in three major earthquakes that damaged the city so extensively the government was forced to temporarily move the capital to the city of Santa Tecla (known at the time as Nueva San Salvador). The 1986 San Salvador earthquake struck on October 10, 1986, causing considerable damage to the city and surrounding areas. Between 1,000 and 1,500 people are believed to have been killed, and over 10,000 people were injured. 200,000 people were left homeless after the earthquake and a week of minor aftershocks. [26] [27] The 2001 El Salvador earthquakes struck El Salvador on January 13 and February 13, 2001, resulting in considerable damage to the city, especially in Las Colinas suburb, where a landslide destroyed homes and killed many people.

During the 1980s, when political conflicts in El Salvador exploded into Salvadoran civil war, many people fled to the capital, since most of the fighting occurred elsewhere (San Salvador itself was not directly affected by the war until the final offensive of 1989).

Hurricanes, tsunamis, and landslides also pose a threat. In November 2009, Hurricane Ida hit the departments of San Salvador, San Vicente and Cuscatlán. In San Vicente, the municipalities of Verapaz and Guadalupe were totally destroyed by rainfall accompanying the hurricane, and the resultant landslide. The Army and the Red Cross were able to rescue most of the victims, but many thousands of people were left homeless. The government opened public schools to be used as temporary shelters for three months. The Hurricane destroyed some bridges, and some towns lost communications. The people of El Salvador raised money for the homeless and international aid came from countries such as the United States, Mexico, Nicaragua, Guatemala, and the European Union.

Tropical Storm Agatha

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Tropical Storm Agatha

Tropical storm Agatha hit the Central American coast on Thursday, May 27, 2010. About 3 feet (0.91 m) of rainfall was recorded over a period of five days in the Metropolitan Area of San Salvador, producing sinkholes, flash floods, and mudslides. Districts particularly hard hit included downtown, El Picacho, and Montebello.

Security and crime

Concerns about public safety in San Salvador increased in the late 1980s due to the civil war. Although it was fought primarily in the countryside, during the latter years of the war, guerrillas started attacking the capital city. San Salvador recovered quickly after the cessation of hostilities, but gang ("mara") violence became a problem.

The 18th Street gang, originating in Los Angeles, California, United States has proliferated in San Salvador. The Mara Salvatrucha is a rival gang. In 2002 crime rates skyrocketed and the municipal government was unable to combat the rise. Recent efforts by mayor Norman Quijano to restore public safety have been somewhat successful. Security measures in San Salvador's most troubled Districts (5 and 6, which border Soyapango, and are home to many gangs) included safety campaigns and recreational activities to keep youth from joining gangs. The mayor also initiated a security camera program so the police can monitor the most heavily trafficked areas of the city. The project was launched in the historic downtown and will expand throughout the entire city. [28]

As of 2011 San Salvador had managed to reduce its crime rate, and reduce its murder rate to a level lower than that of Haiti, Venezuela, [29] Mexico, Guatemala, or Honduras, [30] although at over 90 murders per 100,000 residents, the per capita rate was more than 10 times higher than major cities such as New York or London. [31] Also according to a UN Development report, San Salvador has a relatively low robbery rate of 90 per 100,000, [32] compared to San José, the capital of Costa Rica, which has 524 robberies per 100,000. [33]

Districts 3 and 4 are the wealthiest in the country and in theory the safest but in reality, even Colonia Escalón is surrounded by marginal communities and there are countless cases of robbery and criminal activities in or around the area. Districts 1 and 2 have a slightly higher crime rate than 3 or 4, while District 5, bordering San Marcos, and District 6, bordering Soyapango, have the highest crime rates.

Twin towns and sister cities

San Salvador is twinned with:

See also

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SIMÁN is a department store from El Salvador, has 90 years of operation and currently has regionalized along Central America.

The municipal districts of San Salvador, the capital city of El Salvador, are naturally delimited by the Acelhuate River on the east, the San Jacinto Hill on the south east, the lower highlands of the Balsam Range on the South, El Picacho Mountain and the Bicentennial Park on the West, and North by the San Antonio River. The municipality is further subdivided into Districts governed by the municipal mayor and by a district board. There are seven districts in San Salvador, districts 1-6 and the Historic Downtown.

The following is a timeline of the history of the city of San Salvador, El Salvador.


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