The most famous landmarks in El Salvador are the Divine Savior of the World Monument, The National Cathedral, The National Palace, the Santa Ana Cathedral, Plaza Gerardo Barrios, Plaza Libertad, Coatepeque Lake, the Cathedral of San Miguel, and El Rosario Church.
El Salvador is a small nation known primarily for its Pacific Ocean beaches, great surf spots, and mountainous scenery. However, the country is home to iconic landmarks. Exploring El Salvador’s famous landmarks is a must when traveling to El Salvador.
The famous places in El Salvador include monuments, sites of historical interest, natural parks, colonial churches, colonial towns, and well-known buildings. The following are the top ten most famous landmarks in the country, part of El Salvador culture.
1. Divine Savior of the World Monument in San Salvador
This monument is by far one of the most iconic landmarks in El Salvador. The Divine Savior of the World Monument is a statue of Jesus Christ standing on top of a global sphere of planet Earth in the El Salvador del Mundo Plaza in San Salvador.
This famous monument in El Salvador honors the Divine Savior of the World, the patron saint of the nation’s capital. The Divine Savior of the World monument is a symbol that identifies and represents El Salvador and Salvadorans everywhere.
During the 1986 earthquake, the statue collapsed and broke into several pieces. The monument was restored, and the statue was placed in its original place. From this point, the monument became a symbol of hope and faith for all Salvadorans.
2. Metropolitan Cathedral of San Salvador
The San Salvador Cathedral is located in the San Salvador historic district. The cathedral is the principal Catholic church of El Salvador and home to the San Salvador Archbishop. It is one of the main attractions of the newly renovated downtown area.
The National Cathedral was built at the end of the sixteenth century. Since then, the church has been destroyed twice, the first time by an earthquake in 1873 and then by fire in 1951.
This unique landmark is visited by many people; some do it to appreciate the artwork, design, and history, while others visit because of their religious beliefs and fate.
As of late, the biggest attraction at this cathedral is the tomb of Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero, the most recognizable religious figure in the country, now a saint.
3. El Salvador National Palace
The National Palace is a classical building in the historic district of San Salvador. During most of the 1900s, the major branches of the Salvadoran government used The National Palace as a governmental office.
The most important rooms, or main rooms in the palace, were painted in different colors; each color represented a branch of the government.
The Pink Room housed the Supreme Court, the Yellow Room was the president’s office, and the Blue Room was the meeting place of the Legislature of El Salvador.
This historic landmark is a must-see when visiting the historic downtown; it’s full of Salvadoran history.
4. The Santa Ana Cathedral
The Santa Ana Cathedral is near the top of the list of best churches in El Salvador. The Cathedral of Our Lady Saint Anne, or “La Catedral de la Señora Santa Ana” in Spanish, is a spectacular neo-Gothic cathedral located in the city of Santa Ana.
Every year, local and international tourists visit this magnificent cathedral; some visit because of their faith, and others because of the architectural design and history associated with the church.
As a landmark, the Cathedral of Santa Ana is more than a stunning infrastructure; it is a special place that keeps the culture and religion of a city alive.
Furthermore, the cathedral is in the beautiful historic center of Santa Ana, surrounded by many of the main buildings in the town, such as the Mayor’s office and the Santa Ana Theater.
5. Plaza Gerardo Barrios
Plazas are one of the most famous landmarks in El Salvador; they have been around for centuries and have been the epicenter of many memorable events.
Plaza Gerardo Barrios sits at the heart of the historic district in San Salvador, in front of the Metropolitan Cathedral. The square is a landmark, not only for the capital city but for the entire country as well.
Some of the most symbolic and famous buildings in El Salvador surround this plaza; for example, there is the National Palace, the Metropolitan Cathedral, the National Theater, and El Rosario Church.
The monument of Gerardo Barrios and the plaza are in honor of President General Gerardo Barrios. The general is one of the most notable and influential figures in the country’s history.
This Landmark has also witnessed some significant events in its history, for example, the riots of 1980 during the funeral of Bishop Oscar Romero, who was murdered six days earlier during mass by a sniper. Also, the celebration of the end of the Civil War in 1992.
6. Plaza Libertad
Plaza Libertad, or Liberty Plaza, is another landmark at the heart of San Salvador in the historic district. It is an extensive open space with a statue commemorating the independence of El Salvador.
Liberty Plaza was named in honor of the Central American independence from Spain. This plaza serves many civic events, especially on Independence Day in El Salvador, which is September 15.
It was precisely from this site that what is now the nation’s capital of San Salvador began in the mid-16th century. Liberty Plaza is a pleasant place to wander, sunbathe, hang out, take photos, or enjoy the day.
7. Coatepeque Lake. An Astounding Volcanic Caldera in El Salvador
El Salvador has landmarks in natural settings available all over the country; they are impressive! Coatepeque Lake is one of these natural wonders.
This lake, considered one of the most beautiful in Central America, is located about 18 kilometers south of the city of Santa Ana in the municipality of El Congo; it is near the Cerro Verde National Park, which has two amazing stratovolcanoes, Izalco and Santa Ana.
The lake is an ideal place to practice ecotourism, such as mountain biking, fishing, diving, camping, and much more.
8. Izalco Volcano
Izalco volcano, also known as the lighthouse of the Pacific, is located in the Cerro Verde National Park. This volcano is one of the most active volcanoes in Central America; since 1770, it has erupted more than 50 times.
This volcano is one of the most popular in the country; every year, local and foreign tourists visit this stratovolcano to enjoy its magnitude, hike to the summit and appreciate the fantastic views.
9. San Miguel Cathedral
The San Miguel Cathedral is in the eastern part of the country; it sits in the heart of the city of San Miguel, the second or third-largest city in the country. The church is called the Cathedral Basilica of Queen of Peace or Catedral Basílica Reina de la Paz in Spanish.
The Cathedral of San Miguel is an architectural jewel and the pride and joy of the citizens in the city. Visit this city during its festivities in late November; it is one of the best celebrations in the country.
10. El Rosario Church
El Rosario church is a landmark in El Salvador because of its non-descriptive concrete exterior and astonishing interior that makes it unique. The church looks more like an airplane hangar than a worship house.
However, once you go inside, you will witness the arched roof and natural light rushing in like a rainbow across the altar and bouncing off the metal and rock. This unusual landmark is part of the main attractions in the San Salvador historic downtown.
Natural Landmarks in El Salvador
El Salvador boasts an array of breathtaking natural landmarks that enchant visitors with their diverse beauty. From majestic volcanoes to pristine beaches and lush forests, the country’s geography is a testament to its rich ecological heritage.
- Izalco volcano. Also known as the lighthouse of the pacific.
- Santa Ana or Ilamatepec volcano. The tallest volcano in El Salvador, also one of the most popular destinations for foreign tourists.
- Chapparrastique volcano. A rugged stratovolcano, ideal for hiking, but only for those who like extreme conditions.
- Conchagua volcano. Amazing views of the Gulf of Fonseca.
- San Vicente or Chichontepec volcano. Twin peaked volcano near San Salvador.
- Coatepeque Lake. Volcanic caldera near the Cerro Verde National Park.
- Ilopango Lake. Active volcanic caldera ideal for scuba diving.
- Suchitlan Lake. Man.made natural lake near the colorful city of Suchitoto.
- Lake Guija. Historic lake that was of great importance to anciente civilizations.
Mountains or Natural Parks
- Cerro Verde National Park. Iconic park with three volcanoes.
- Montecristo National Park. Bi-national park shared with Honduras.
- El Pital Mountain. Coldest part of the country.
- El Imposible national Park. Largest national protected area in the country.
- El Boqueron Park. Beautiful natural area near the capital.
Man Made landmarks in El Salvador
- Tazumal: Best preserved Maya site in the country.
- Joya de Ceren: The Popeii of the Americas.
- San Andres: Mayan archaeological site is located in the valley of Zapotitan.
- Casa Blanca: Casa Blanca is part of the comprehensive Chalchuapa archaeological site.
- Cihuatan: Extensive Pre-Columbian archaeological site located in the central part of the country.
- The National Cathedral. Home to the Archbishop of San Salvador, the principal figure in the Salvadoran archdioceses.
- Santa Ana Cathedral. Spanish neo-Gothic cathedral located in the city of Santa Ana.
- San Miguel Cathedral. Cathedral with a long and fascinating history that involves local Indians, the Spanish colonists, and pirates that invaded the Gulf of Fonseca.
- El Rosario Church. Conveniently located in the San Salvador Historic District.
- Church of the holy cross of Rome in Panchimalco. One of the most popular colonial churches in the country.
- The National Palace. The National Palace combines neo-Gothic, neoclassical, and Renaissance details.
- National Theater. Structure, built in a French Renaissance style.
- The Santa Ana Theater. This theater was built between 1902 and 1910.
- Presidential home or CAPRES. Offices of the Salvadoran president.
- Legislative Assembly building. Home to the Salvadoran congress.
Monuments in El Salvador and Historic Plazas
- Divine Savior of the World Monument. Number one on the top ten famous landmarks in El Salvador.
- Plaza Gerardo Barrios. Monument and plaza in San Salvador.
- Plaza Libertad or Liberty Plaza. Sitting in the heart of the city of San Salvador.
- Monument to the Revolution. Its construction began during the government of Colonel Óscar Osorio to commemorate the uprising that deposed General Salvador Castaneda Castro from power, in 1948.
- Peace Monument. The figure of the Christ of Peace that predominates in the structure, was made with bullet casings, brass and cast bronze.
El Salvador Landmarks. Most famous Landmarks in El Salvador
El Salvador is a small country with
plenty of character, some good and some bad. If you are ever thinking about visiting Central America, take a chance and visit the smallest country in the American Continent. I am sure you will have a good time and will enjoy it.