5 stunning facts about El Rosario church that will make your visit unforgettable

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If you think of visiting El Salvador, you cannot miss El Rosario Church. It is a must stop on the San Salvador city tours, as it is part of the history of modern art in El Salvador.

What makes the El Rosario Church so special?

Whether or not you are a religious person, you cannot miss El Rosario Church, it is definitely a beautiful location that you cannot miss. It is an architectural structure that breaks with the parameters of traditional temples and that at the time of its construction caused much controversy.

5 curiosities of the El Rosario Church in San Salvador

El Rosario Church was designed by a one of the most prestigious local artist

During the time of its construction, in 1964, it was a controversial structure, since the shape of the land was rectangular, as it was a space in which it could not be built in the traditional way as the rest of the churches in the shape of a cross.

The placement of the main altar in one of the lateral walls was also controversial for the time, since it did not adapt to the conciliar norms, it was also controversial for the conservative friars, but they allowed it to be built that way.

The architectural plans for the church were made in six days by Rubén Martínez, and were taken to the Vatican by Father Alejandro Peinador for approval.

The structure of the church was made only with concrete, iron and pieces of stained glass brought from France, wood was used but as a base for the placement of the concrete, not as part of the final structure.

The architect and sculptor of the El Rosario Church is Rubén Martínez, a multiple awarded Salvadoran artist dedicated to abstract and modern art. He recently won the 2019 National Culture Award in the Visual Arts mention, a recognition specially designed for the most outstanding characters in the artistic field.

Ruben Martínez is also the designer and sculptor of the Monument to The Constitution and the The Christ of Peace Monument, which you must also visit at El Salvador.

The construction of the El Rosario Church was supervised by the Pope himself

The construction project of the El Rosario Church was so avant garde that Pope John XXIII dedicated himself to supervise the work, which dates back to the 60s. Recall that the first church of the parish of El Rosario was founded around 1545 in the Plaza de Armas of El Salvador and in 1848 became into a cathedral.

El Rosario Church breaks with the architectural tradition of the Catholic religion

The space to build the El Rosario Church is very narrow, so the architect Rubén Martínez had to leave the conventional parameters and make a unique and modern Catholic temple, full of symbolism and beauty with a structure similar to a bridge, but symbolizing the eye of God and the Holy Trinity.

Another curious fact is that Catholic churches generally have a cross shape and the main altar is placed to the east, at the center of the structure. However, in the case of the El Rosario Church, the main altar is to the north, raised to the middle of a side wall as a kind of stage and some time it was thought that it would fall.

Every detail of the El Rosario Church is loaded with symbolism

The artist Rubén Martínez dedicated himself of taking care of every detail of El Rosario Church so that makes it is definitely unique. Among some of the highlights are:

  • The roof, which is also known as “Stairway to heaven”.
  • The stained glass windows, which represent the eye of divinity and whose rainbow provides a unique chromatic atmosphere at every moment within the temple.
  • The structure is designed to have a ventilation system that allows air to run and visitors do not suffocate.

The Via Crucis goes out of the ordinary

The typical scenes of the Via Crucis were made in a completely minimalist manner with the leftover concrete and iron from the construction of the church, which had the tight budget of US$ 260,000. This means that the materials were maximized, so it can even be said that it is an ecofriendly church.

The grand finale is the sculpture of a deconstructed iron Christ that is resurrected in the middle of the narrow church.

The stepped roof design, which is still functional for the structure, was long called “Stairway to Heaven”.

The pieces of iron used for the construction were recycled to create the sculptures that are inside the church. Some pieces can be seen at each of the Stations of the Cross.

The image of the Virgin of El Rosario was moved only by Rubén Martínez, since none of the workers wanted to do it because they thought that by moving it from its original place they were desecrating the image and a catastrophe could happen.

The north wall of the church, where the main altar is located, is the highest isolated wall in Central America, according to its builder Martínez Bulnes, and during the 1960’s people believed it was going to fall.

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