The churches in El Salvador are incredible, they have beautiful styles such as Colonial, Gothic, Baroque, Early Christian, and Modern. Also, each church has an astonishing history that appeals to all kinds of visitors. Religious and non-religious people get to appreciate and enjoy these great churches located all over the country.
There is no secret that in El Salvador, the connection between government and religion has been around since colonial times. Religion, especially Catholicism, plays a significant role in events and activities the government does, primarily at the local level.
Indeed, evidence of the relationship between the local government and the church is visible in communities all over the country; particularly, during the local municipality celebrations in honor of the local patron saint.
Undoubtedly, in municipalities all over the country, you will find beautiful Catholic churches that play significant roles in their community. Furthermore, some of these churches have a fascinating history that dates back to colonial times.
The following ten churches in El Salvador are the ones you definitely should visit. Some of them have amazing architectural designs, and some have a unique history worth knowing.
1- The Santa Ana Cathedral.
The Cathedral of Our Lady Saint Anne or La Catedral de la Señora Santa Ana in Spanish is a neo-Gothic cathedral located in the city of Santa Ana.
The imposing Cathedral of Santa Ana is more than a fantastic gothic church; it is a unique structure that keeps the culture and the religion of the city alive.
This impressive cathedral has a Neo-Gothic design, which contrasts with the typical Salvadoran Spanish colonial-style church.
The cathedral was first built around 1576; then, in the early 9th century, lightning destroyed half of the church. Workers started reconstructing the iconic Santa Ana church in 1906. Rebuilding continued for decades until its completion in 1959.
Undoubtedly, the Santa Ana Cathedral is one of the churches that you should definitely see in El Salvador.
2- San Salvador Cathedral.
The San Salvador Cathedral or Metropolitan Cathedral of the Holy Savior is located in the heart of the San Salvador historic district; it is near some of the best touristic spots in the Nation’s Capital.
Additionally, the National Cathedral is home to the Archbishop of San Salvador, the principal figure in the Salvadoran archdioceses.
This Cathedral does not look like your standard Salvadoran style colonial church. The main reason for the non-typical look is that it has been rebuilt two times.
In 1873, a massive earthquake destroyed the original church. Consequently, in 1951, a fire reduced the second church to ashes.
Soon after the fire, workers began construction of the third church with the new non-colonial look. Workers finish the work on the third church in 1999.
You should visit this church; it has an astonishing history and is the resting place of Monseñor Oscar Arnulfo Romero Galdamez.
3- El Rosario church, San Salvador.
Sculptor Ruben Martinez was the designer of El Rosario church. Workers completed the construction of this church in 1971.
This unique church has made this list due to its nondescript concrete exterior; it looks like an airport hangar more than a house of prayer. The outside conceals a beautifully arched roof and a rainbow of natural light that rushes across the altar.
You should visit El Rosario church either early in the morning or in the late afternoon; during these times, the lights have the most climactic effect.
El Rosario church is conveniently located in the San Salvador Historic District; it is near popular attractions such as the National Palace and the National theater.
4- Santa Lucia Church, Suchitoto.
The Santa Lucia church is located in the colorful town of Suchitoto; it is a colonial-style church that dates back to colonial times.
The church, built during colonial times, is one of the main attractions of Suchitoto; to this day, it still has its original structure from the colonial era.
The outside of the church is painted white, typical of the colonial-era churches. It has two towers, one has the bell tower and in the other has metal bars that produce different sounds
The inside of the church is beautiful, it has hand-carved panels, six iconic columns, and sculptures definitely worth seeing.
During your visit to Suchitoto, you will get to explore a magnificent church that dates back to colonial times. Furthermore, the area around Suchitoto is home to great tourist attractions such as Suchitlan Lake, the Guazapa volcano, and the town itself.
5- Church of the Immaculate Conception, Ataco.
One of the principal attractions at Concepción Ataco is its stunning colonial church and sanctuary; the church is in honor of the Immaculate Conception of Maria.
At the request of parish priest Rafael Fernández and the municipality. On January 5, 2003, this church was given the title of a sanctuary.
The 2001 earthquake severely damaged the church. The renovated sanctuary was open to the public again in 2003.
The Immaculate Conception of Maria church is not as impressive as the one in Santa Ana or San Salvador; nonetheless, this unique sanctuary has plenty to offer its visitors.
Lastly, the municipality of Concepcion de Ataco, with its unique church, is one of the most visited small towns in the country.
6- The San Miguel Cathedral.
The Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace; commonly known as La Catedral de San Miguel, is located in the city of San Miguel.
The cathedral has a long and fascinating history that involves local Indians, the Spanish colonists, and pirates that invaded the Gulf of Fonseca.
This church, until 1862, was known as the San Miguel Archangel church; at this point, it was demolished to make room for the new Virgin Our Lady of Peace Church.
Historians indicated that General Gerardo Barrios, an influential figure in El Salvadora; was who laid the first stone to create this temple in 1862.
The rocks used to build this church came from the slopes of the Chaparrastique volcano.
7- Church of the Holy Cross of Rome, Panchimalco.
The colonial town of Panchimalco is one of the most popular in the country; it has a history that dates back to pre-colonial times.
The church of the holy cross of Rome in Panchimalco is part of the Salvadoran colonial heritage; workers started construction of the church in 1543 and completed it in 1730.
The traditional colonial church, with a classical Baroque style, is an astonishing sight in the colorful town of Panchimalco that you should visit
8- El Calvario Church in San Salvador.
El Calvario church is an example of old architectural structures that remain in the nation’s capital; it is located in the heart of San Salvador.
The original church was built to host all the festivities that take place during Lent and the Holy Week.
In 1854, an earthquake destroyed the first El Calvario church. Then, in 1908, a fire consumed the second El Calvario church.
Lastly, in 1925, engineer Augusto Baratta completed the construction of the third El Calvario church.
The church, completed in 1925, is the same that is standing today; it is amongst many other significant buildings at the heart of San Salvador.
9- Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, San Salvador.
The basilica of the sacred heart of Jesus is an neo-gothic style church; it is a treasure of the nation’s capital. The construction of this church started at the beginning of the 19th century by the bishop of San Salvador.
This structure constructed out of wood and metal sheets has survived many earthquakes and has been well preserved. So, visit the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus; it is like taking a trip back to San Salvador in the early nineteenth century.
10- Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Antiguo Cuscatlan.
The Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe is located at the western end of the nation’s capital; it borders between the municipalities and San Salvador and Antiguo Cuscatlan.
This basilica, known as La Ceiba de Guadalupe is one of the most popular religious places in El Salvador. It is a favorite location for weddings, baptisms, and other religious activities.
The construction of this magnificent church started in 1913; however, it took forty years for its completion in 1953.
Renowned German philanthropist Walter Deininger was the person who made the construction of this basilica possible. He also bankrolled the building of many prominent structures in the city of Antiguo Cuscatlan.
Churches in El Salvador.
In each municipality in El Salvador, you will find catholic churches that are simply amazing. There are many reasons why you should visit these churches; nevertheless, the following three reasons are the most popular.
To begin with, some of these churches have amazing architectural designs that go back a long time. Also, some of them have a simplistic design that dates back to colonial times. Lastly, some of these churches have a unique history, which makes them more appealing to visitors.
So if you ever get the chance, travel to El Salvador and visit one of these astonishing catholic churches, it does not matter if you are religious or not!
If you feel that there is a church in El Salvador that needs to be on this list, please contact me and let me know!