Walking around in downtown Santa Tecla you are immersed in Salvadorian history and culture.
Architecture from the early 1900 makes a regular appearance in the Santa Tecla landscape. Beautiful
neoclassical buildings line the streets and remind us of a simpler time in El Salvador.
A must see example of this architecture is the Palacio Municipal de las Bellas Artes. Here modern
art meets classical Salvadorian arts and crafts. Built in 1911 by Jose Jerez, as a family home and later
donated to the municipality this building became the municipal building in the late 1920’s. In 2001
the building suffered some major damage from an earthquake and was left to gather dust. In 2008 a
remodel was completed and this local treasure was reopened to the public as an art museum. Now the
17 rooms and inner courtyard are teeming with life and culture educating newcomers about Salvadorian
art and history. Inside there is also a lovely café where you can drink the local brews. If you enjoy art and
architecture then a visit to Palacio Municipal de Bellas Artes is a must.
Just a few blocks away is another impressive sample of Jose Jerez’ work; known as Museo Tecleño.
Built in 1902, it was used as the local penitentiary until the earthquake of 2001. In 2010 the remodeled
structure was reopened as Museo Tecleño, now showcasing historical artifacts related to the
penitentiary. On display you’ll find anything from pictures of famous former inmates and pictures of the
civil war to artifacts used in torture. Grim as it may be this is a part of Salvadorian history that gives us
outsiders real insights into the local culture and how hardship has shaped this culture.
Santa Tecla is one of so many places in El Salvador that are unique and so special you just have to visit. If
you haven’t been there yet, get in your car and drive straight to Santa Tecla. You’re going to love it.
Have you visited Santa Tecla? Tell us your experiences and recommendations in our comments section!