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Suchitoto, meaning ‘the place of birds and flowers’ in Nahuatl, was founded by the Pipil more than 1000 years ago. Today it is a small, very attractive colonial town with cobbled streets, balconied houses and an interesting church. It is one of the favourite tourist spots in the country, with cultural traditions kept alive by the many artists living and working in the town.
The town was almost completely deserted in the early 1990s after 12 years of civil war which severely affected the region – 90% of the population left, leaving Suchitoto a virtual ghost town. However, a cultural revival has stimulated a range of activities and events, and the town is now considered the cultural capital of the country. Life centres on the main plaza which every evening becomes a bustle of people wandering the streets.Read more
Suchitoto’s telegraph poles have been decorated by artist Paulo Rusconi, and Parque San Martín, to the west of town, is dotted with modern sculptures, some made using materials left over from the war. Arts and cultural festivals with internationally renowned artists take place every February. Another local festivity is the Palo Encebado, a competition involving attempts to clamber to the top of long greasy poles, and the Cerdo Encebado where a pig smeared with lard is chased through town and is kept by the first person who manages to grab it.
The Teatro de Las Ruinas is almost fully restored and hosts concerts and events. Iglesia de Santa Lucía, built in 1858 with wooden and hollow columns, has also been restored with a lot of stencil work inside. Casa Museo de Alejandro Cotto, home of movie director Alejandro Cotto, is an interesting museum with more than 132 paintings of El Salvador’s most renowned artists, collections of books and music instruments.