Izalco: Town of Mystical Traditions

DSCN2019 By: Hugh C. Talley

This week Elizabeth and I visited the town of Izalco, located in the department of Sonsonate, 59km from San Salvador. This is a town that has a lot of history, mystical traditions and some interesting sites to see. We visited the Atecozol Park and the Iglesias De Dolores (Church of Our Lady of Sorrows). We were not able to visit the arts and crafts area of town because they were closed for some event that was going on, but we do plan to return and check out the arts and crafts as they are said to be really nice.

At the base of the Izalco Volcano, is the town of Izalco, this is a very nice and well-kept little town. Izalco has the largest indigenous community of the region. The town has kept its native healing traditions and rituals. The native healers refer to themselves as “curanderos” or naturopaths who specialize in spiritual healing. Many of the people prefer to visit the naturopaths instead of the clinics because of their traditional beliefs and the plants they are prescribed are readily available and the treatment is more affordable.

We also visited the Iglesias De Dolores, it is believed that this church was built before 1540; it was one of the first Catholic Churches in El Salvador and on the continent. We were told that only the first floor of the main face of the building is original. The interior of the church contains colonial images, paintings, expository and tabernacles of embossed silver. This is a beautiful church and was very interesting to visit.

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Also in Izalco is Atecozol Park, this park has natural springs which feed two swimming pools, very nice walkways through a forest with many plants and flowers and plenty of picnic tables, some with grills nearby for grilling. There are guards throughout the park to make sure there is no trouble.
There were two sites that we found interesting, one was the giant statue of Atonatl which honors pipil warrior Atonatl who wounded Spanish conqueror Pedro de Alvarado during a 1524 battle. It is my understanding that Atonatl was later killed in battle.
The other site was a stone image of Cuyancua, a mythological animal that was half snake and half pig the size of a calf. It is told by the locals that at night you can hear a squeal followed by a strong turbulence under the ground. The villagers are said to go in their homes very early in the evening so as not to meet up with Cuyancua.
AS you can tell, we had a very full and busy day that we enjoyed very much.

I have attached some pictures below. Please feel free to leave comments or questions and we will get back to you.

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DSCN3561 Water from natural spring feeds pools

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DSCN3617 Cuyancua

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DSCN3620 Cuyancuat

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One comment on “Izalco: Town of Mystical Traditions

  1. Izalco sounds very interesting, especially the curanderos. I think we’ll have to make a return visit to El Salvador…

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