Top Ten El Salvadorian Attractions

Top Ten El Salvadorian  Attractions

       El Salvador is the smallest and the most densely populated country in Central America. The country’s capital city and largest city is San Salvador. Santa Ana and San Miguel are also important commercial centers in the country. El Salvador borders the Pacific Ocean to the west, tucked in between Guatemala to the north and Honduras to the east, with its eastern-most region lying on the Gulf of Fonseca across from Nicaragua. As of 2009, El Salvador has a population of approximately 5,744,113 people, composed predominantly of Mestizo, mixed biracial Native American/European ancestry and White/Caucasian. The Colón was the official currency of El Salvador from 1892 to 2001, when it adopted the US Dollar. In 2010 El Salvador ranked in the top 10 among Latin American countries in terms of the Human Development Index and in the top 3 in Central America (behind Costa Rica and Panama); because of this, the country is currently undergoing rapid industrialization. El Salvador was explored and settled by the Spanish in the 16th century, the country broke with Spain in 1821 and joined a union consisting of Costa Rica,Guatemala,Honduras and Nicaragua, named the Federal Republic of Central America. When the latter dissolved in 1841, El Salvador then joined the Greater Republic of Central America in 1896 with Honduras and Nicaragua; which later dissolved in 1898. El Salvador has a long history, with origins dating back to the Spanish conquest of the Pipil people of Cuzcatlán, which means “The Place of Precious Diamonds and Jewels.”

  1. Joya de Cerén Archaeological Site

    Joya de Cerén is an archaeological site in La Libertad Department featuring a pre-Columbian Maya farming village preserved remarkably intact under layers of volcanic ash. It is often referred to as the “Pompeii of the Americas” in comparison to the famous Ancient Roman ruins. A small farming community inhabited as early as 900 BC, Cerén was on the southeast edge of the Maya cultural area. Cerén was evacuated in 250 AD due to the eruption of the Ilopango volcano. Around the year 590, Loma Caldera, another nearby volcano, erupted and buried the village under 14 layers of ash. The villagers were apparently able to flee in time, no bodies have been found, although they left behind utensils, ceramics, furniture and even half-eaten food in their haste to escape. The site was discovered in 1976 by Payson Sheets, a professor of anthropology at the University of Colorado at Boulder. About 70 buildings have been uncovered. Even more important than the buildings, however, are the paleoethnobotanical remains. The low temperature of the wet ash from Loma Caldera, as well as its rapid fall, ensured the preservation of much of the plant material. Of great importance is the discovery of manioc fields, the first time manioc cultivation had been found at a New World archaeological site. Although the manioc had long since decomposed, researchers created plaster casts by filling the resulting hollows in the ash. The farmers had planted the manioc “just hours” before the eruption.
  2. Tazumal

    Tazumal, meaning “the place where the victims were burned,” in K’iche’, is a Pre-Columbian Maya archaeological site in Chalchuapa, El Salvador. The site is located in the heart of Chalchuapa in the department of Santa Ana, some 60 km from the capital,San Salvador. This zone is within the archaeological area of Chalchuapa, which covers an approximate area of 10 km² and where other archaeological sites such as Pampe, Casa Blanca, Trapiche and Las Victorias are also located. Chalchuapa is a site which shows evidence of being influenced by Copán in Honduras, and also shares some stylistic elements that are more characteristic of central Mexican sites, such asTeotihuacan and the “Toltec” style architecture at Tula. Tazumal includes a series of Maya ruins, including ceremonial architecture that date to around 100-1200 AD. The site includes an intricate water drainage system, a few tombs, adjacent minor pyramids, palaces and excavated ritual objects. Tazumal had a long and uninterrupted occupational history, from 100 AD until 1200 AD, although its greatest development corresponds to the Classic period (250–900 AD). Around 900 AD, the Toltec style pyramid was constructed, as well as a large ballcourt. The site was abandoned around 1200 AD. The ruins of Tazumal are considered the most important and best preserved in El Salvador. The artifacts found at Tazumal provide evidence of ancient and active trade between Tazumal and places as far away as Panama and Mexico. The excavated ruins are part of an area covering 10 square km (4 sq mi), much of it buried under the surrounding town. Archaeologists estimate that the first settlements in the area of Chalchuapa date to around 1200 BC.
  3. San Andrés

    San Andrés is a pre-Hispanic site of El Salvador, whose occupation began around the year 900 BC as an agricultural town in the valley of Zapotitán. This early establishment was vacated by the year 250 because of the enormous eruption of the caldera of Lago Ilopango and was occupied again in the 5th century, along with many other sites in the valley of Zapotitán. Between 600 and 900 AD, San Andrés was the capital of a Mayan lordship with supremacy over the other establishments of Valle de Zapotitán. The investigations and excavations in San Andrés have been primarily of the political-ceremonial center and have revealed that it was divided into the South Seat (from which they governed) and the North Seat. In the year 600, the South Seat was filled with adobe (leaving a tunnel leading to the original seat) to construct the Acropolis, which contains ceremonial and political structures. In the ends to the South and East of the Acropolis are pyramids or structures. In the North ends and the west are a series of rooms where the governors lived (the last palaces of San Andrés) of which two have been reconstructed. To the south of the Acropolis lies another ceremonial structure. In the North seat, or Great Seat, is the pyramid, known as the Bell of San Andrés, which is united with the Acropolis. Archaeology demonstrates that San Andrés had strong contacts with Copán and Teotihuacan, and received goods from such distant places as the present territories of Petén and Belize. San Andrés collapsed as a political center towards end of the 9th century. The last evidence of pre-Hispanic activity in the site was between the years 900 and 1200 as a residential site that consists of a final layer with fragments of censers and ceramics painted with scenes of sacrifice in Mixteca-Puebla style, which belong to a new cultural phase, named Guazapa, related to the pre-Hispanic city of Cihuatán. After the Spanish Conquest, the ruins of San Andrés lay within a colonial estate dedicated to cattle and indigo production. The site was buried due to the eruption of the Playón volcano in 1658 AD, preserving the Colonial indigo production almost intact. In 1996, the Government of El Salvador inaugurated the Archaeological Park of San Andrés, where the visitor can climb the pyramids, see the indigo production area, and visit the site museum.
  4. Pampe
  5. Casa Blanca

  6. Trapiche
  7. Las Victorias
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