El Salvador is a small Central American nation. It’s known for its Pacific Ocean beaches, surf spots and mountainous landscape.
The official name of the country is the Republic of El Salvador.
El Salvador borders the North Pacific Ocean to the south and southwest, with Guatemala to the north-northwest and Honduras to the north-northeast. In the southeast, the Golfo de Fonseca separates it from Nicaragua.
The official language is Spanish.
As of 1 January 2016, the population of El Salvador was estimated to be 6,134,885 people.
It is the smallest and the most densely populated country in Central America.
El Salvador has a total area of 21,040 square kilometers (8,124 square miles).
San Salvador is the capital city of El Salvador, approximately in the center of the country surrounded by green-tipped volcanoes. The city has a long history, with origins dating back to the Spanish conquest of the Pipil tribes.
Two parallel mountain ranges cross El Salvador to the west with a central plateau between them and a narrow coastal plain hugging the Pacific.
Cerro El Pital is the highest point in El Salvador at an elevation of 2,730 meters (8,957 feet) above the sea level.
El Salvador has a coastline of 307 kilometers along the North Pacific Ocean and is the only country in Central America that does not have a coastline on the Caribbean Sea.
It is one of the world’s most famous surfing destinations in the Pacific coast.
There are four National Parks located in El Salvador.
El Imposible National Park is the largest park in El Salvador and is named for the perilous gorge that claimed the lives of farmers and pack mules transporting coffee to the Pacific port. The park was established on 1 January 1989 and covers an area of 38.20 square kilometers. It has an altitude of between 250 and 1,425 meters.
El Salvador is known as the “Land of the Volcanoes” because of the more than 20 volcanoes in the territory. Two of them two of them, San Miguel and Izalco, active in recent years.
The San Salvador volcano is one of the most emblematic places of El Salvador. It is a massive stratovolcano situated northwest to the city of San Salvador. The city is adjacent to the volcano and the western section of the city actually lies among its slopes.
Lake Coatepeque is a large crater lake surrounded by wooded hills in western El Salvador. At 26 square kilometres (10 square miles), it is one of the largest lakes in the country. It is also one of the main tourist’s destinations in El Salvador.
There is one UNESCO World Heritage Site in the country: Joya de Cerén. It was a pre-Columbian Maya farming community that, like Pompeii and Herculaneum in Italy, was buried under an eruption of the Laguna Caldera volcano c. AD 600. Because of the exceptional condition of the remains, they provide an insight into the daily lives of the Central American populations who worked the land at that time.
Tazumal is a pre-Columbian Maya archaeological site. It is a significant Mayan settlement that was at its peak from 100 to 1,200 A.D., included tombs, pyramids, temples and a water drainage system. Tazumal means “place where souls are consumed” in Quiché, an early Mayan language.
Monumento al Divino Salvador del Mundo is one of the most famous landmarks in El Salvador. The large memorial was inaugurated in 1942 and honors Jesus Christ, the patron of El Salvador.
Designed by sculptor Ruben Martinez and completed in 1971, Iglesia El Rosario in San Salvador is radically beautiful. Arguably the finest church in Central America, its nondescript concrete exterior conceals an arched roof and a rainbow of natural light rushing across the altar and bouncing off the metal and rock.
The Olmecs came to the region in 2000 B.C., followed by the Maya in 1500 B.C. When the Maya civilization ended in 900 A.D., the Toltec Empire took hold in El Salvador. In the 11th century, the Pipil people became the dominant group in El Salvador until the Spanish conquerors landed.
Conquistador Pedro de Alvarado named the new province for Jesus Christ – El Salvador (“The Savior”).
The Spanish took over in 1525 and forced the native people to become servants. El Salvador achieved independence from Spain in 1821 and full independence in 1841.
About 90 percent of Salvadorans are mestizo, descendants of Spanish and Indian ancestors. Nine percent claim Spanish descent.
The traditional cuisine consists of food from Native American cuisine, indigenous Lenca, Maya, Pipil and European Spanish peoples. El Salvador’s most notable dish is the pupusa [photo below], a thick handmade corn flour or rice flour tortilla stuffed with cheese, chicharrón (cooked pork meat ground to a paste consistency), refried beans or loroco (a vine flower bud native to Central America).
The tourism is one of the biggest resources for economic development of El Salvador.
International surfing competitions have taken place in El Salvador because of its beaches. It is common to see people with surfing boards at the international airport.
El Salvador is one of the countries with the highest murder rate in the world.
Football is the most popular sport in El Salvador
El Salvador has the largest mall and airport in Central America.
Salvadorans are known as “guanacos.”