September 14, 2012
0321 EL SALVADOR (San Miguel) – The cathedral and the theater in San Miguel
After Ilobasco and San Salvador, the third city in El Salvador that I visit, virtually of course, is San Miguel, which obtained the title of city in 1586, to 56 years after it being founded by Don Luis de Moscoso, under the name San Miguel de la Frontera (San Miguel of the Frontier). Bustling, hot and flat, it's the country's main trade centre, growing wealthy firstly through the profits of gold, and then on the coffee, cotton and henequén. As travel guide of Yahoo says, "more recently it was a centre of arms trading during the civil war, though today the city's flat streets hum and rattle with more mundane forms of commerce and travellers will easily find the sort of facilities offered in the capital. But despite being the birthplace of several national heroes, the city is surprisingly short on sights and attractions, and the best time to visit is during the November carnival, supposedly the biggest in Central America."
The carnival is part of the municipal festivities in honor of Nuestra Señora De La Paz (Our Lady of Peace), which take place annually since 1959. The cathedral in the picture is also dedicated to Nuestra Señora de la Paz, who was declared by Pope Paul VI patron of the Republic of El Salvador on October 10th, 1966. Why Nuestra Señora de la Paz? The story tells that, on November 1682, some merchants found, on the shores at the Gulf of Fonseca, a sealed wooden box, on which they put it on the back of a donkey and continued their way. Once in San Miguel, the animal stopped at the square located in front of the old San Miguel Archangel church, and didn't want to go anymore. When the villagers opened the box, they found inside an image of the Virgin Mary with baby Jesus. At that time there were many revolts of natives, mulattos, mestizos and ladinos, but these have completely ceased with the arrival of this icon.
The story doesn't end here. In 1787, Chaparrastique Volcano erupted, and the river of lava threatened to reach the city. Locals moved the image at the main entrance of the church and is said that the lava changed its course. In 1862, General Gerardo Barrios, president of El Salvador, who apparently was planning to move the capital to San Miguel, laid the foundation stone of a new temple in city, which will be completed only after a century. Designed by an english architect, the church has the roof and the ceiling made by a company from Belgium, the bell towers built by a Filipino engineer, some of the windows created by a German stained-glass company, the others manufactured in Mexico, and the main altar made of Italian marble.
The other building from the postcard is National Theatre "Francisco Gavidia", erected between 1903 and 1909, after the plans of Marcos Letona from the University of Lombaina, Belgium. In 1914 and 1915 cinema is exhibited at the theater, and since 1936 it became part of The National Theatres Circuit. Over the years, the building was seriously affected, but in 1971 a group of students and artists worked together in order to prevent its demolition, so that eventually was restored and has been declared cultural property protected under the Hague Convention of 1954.
About the stamps
The first stamp is part of the Flora and Fauna (I) series, issued on December 19, 2003, and including two stamps:
• Loroco (Fernaldia pandurata) - it's on the postcard
• Smith’s Tropical Night Lizard (Lepidophyma smithii)
About the second stamp, belonging to the Bicentenario del Primer Grito de Independencia de El Salvador 1811-2011 series, I wrote here.
San Miguel - Wikipedia
San Miguel - Yahoo! Travel
Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace, San Miguel - Official Tourism Site of El Salvador
National Theatre ”Francisco Gavidia”, San Miguel - Official Tourism Site of El Salvador
sender: William Guillermo Romero Martinez (direct swap)
sent from San Salvador (El Salvador), on 15.04.2012