National Theatre of El Salvador

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Explore #36. May 23.

Is the oldest theatre in Central America. Its construction was started November 3, 1911, by the French architect Daniel Beylard; and inaugurated March 1, 1917. It is of French Renaissance style with modern touches. It was decorated by the Italian architect Lucio Capellaro, and its Great Hall is the most beautiful and elegant in Central America.

A competition was held to choose a design for the theatre. The prizes for the first two places were 8,000 and 4,000 Francs each. The entries were reviewed by a commission composed of the engineers José E. Alcaine, Luis Fleury, and Aurelio Fuentes. The 12 plans submitted were from the following countries: 5 from France, 2 from the United States, 1 from the Principality of Monaco, 1 from Italy, and 3 from El Salvador. The winning project was "Melpemone" by the French Architect Daniel Beylard. The construction contract was awarded to the Salvadoran firm Ferracutti y Cía.

After 59 years of constant activity, in 1976, a process of remodeling was begun under the direction of the Salvadoran architect, Ricardo Jiménez Castillo. Funds were provided by the Salvadoran government. Castillo hired a select group of contributors: Roberto Salomón, to establish the requirements of the contemporary stage; Simón Magaña, for the decoration; Carlos Cañas, for the elaboration of murals; and Margarita Álvarez de Martínez, for the masterful copper artwork that would adorn the doors to the theatre boxes. Afterwards artisans of Ilobasco joined the team and students of the then Bachillerato en Artes led by the master artisan Carlos Cañas.

Multiple architectural styles were enriched in the fusion of the construction of the National Theatre including: Versailles Style, Rococo, Romanticism, and Art Nouveau, with regional touches. Some of the furniture was elaborated in the shop of the theatre, the rest of the furniture, rugs, carpets, armchairs, and lecterns, were imported from the United States. The drop curtains of the stage and the lights of the boxes and halls, were brought from Austria.

In 1977, the master artisan Carlos Cañas painted the cupola of the great hall with the fresco entitled “El mestizaje cultural”, “The Cultural Convergence”, that occupies an area of 230 m2 approximately. Thanks to this work, the ambiance reminds you of the great hall of Palais Garnier , decorated with Chagall artwork. The reinauguration of the National Theatre took place November 5, 1978 with the presentation of the National Award of Culture, which was given to the great Antonio Salazar, and Dr. Julio Fausto Hernández. The following year, on February 16, 1979 it was declared a National Monument by the Legislative Assembly. Since then, it has maintained in constant activity with theatre, music, dance, recitals, conferences, and acts of great importance in the political and cultural life of El Salvador. In 1992, the government of Japan presented a modern sound and light system to the theatre.

René Aguiluz, Mario Pleitez, and 127 other people added this photo to their favorites.

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  1. RIG PHOTOGRAPHY 75 months ago | reply

    Hi, I'm an admin for a group called ESTAMPAS CENTROAMERICANAS - ESPIRITU DEL JAGUAR, and we'd love to have this added to the group!

  2. VCK xD 75 months ago | reply

    brings back memories [=

  3. Edgar-do 74 months ago | reply

    Nice man, great to see the beauty of my country.
    Did you use HDR?? Nice editing. props

  4. RIG PHOTOGRAPHY 74 months ago | reply

    HOY finaliza el reto de “templos, iglesias y catedrales coloniales”. Quiero saber si me puede “echar una manita” y hacerme la “campaña” con su participación con cualquiera de sus fotos que quepan dentro del tema:

  5. jeneira79 73 months ago | reply

    Que hermoso es mi orgullosa de ser Salvadoreña!!

  6. furu_l 73 months ago | reply

    Beutifull, fotografo lo felicito a veces uno duda de ser salvadoreño pero despues con estas cosas se enorgullese

  7. ivanabrego 73 months ago | reply

    Esta magnífica foto fué vista en /
    This marvelous picture was seen in

    El Salvador/United states


  8. bbartola2002 71 months ago | reply

    Una foto muy espectacular. Cuando la vi por primera vez pense que era una foto de alguna ciudad en Italia, muy parecida la arquitectura. Estoy impresionada ya que deje el Salvador hace mucho tiempo (20 years ago) y no recuerdo haberlo visto tan limpio. Impresionante

  9. Vlad Bezden 71 months ago | reply

    Great picture. I like tones, details, colors. Very well done. Great job.

  10. Bernai Velarde Photography © 69 months ago | reply

    Excelente captura, preciosa foto!
    Estas invitado a subir esta foto a “Lugares de América Latina” en:

    You are invited to add this image to “Places in Latina America” at:

  11. 6of6 62 months ago | reply

    I'm partial to Doric but the Corinthian columns work very well!

  12. miamiphotographerone 61 months ago | reply

    Hi, I'm an admin for a group called City of the World (Post 6 & Comment 3 Please) NEW, and we'd love to have this added to the group!

  13. sandra20sifredo 61 months ago | reply

    Me gusto la foto que bonito es mi pais felicito a quien tomo ésta foto

  14. PACO 100FUEGOS 60 months ago | reply

    magnifica composicion lo felicito.

  15. Adelaide_35 23 months ago | reply

    Wow what a shot.

  16. Jorge Enrique Moran 9 months ago | reply

    Muy buena fotografia,felicidades, me gustaria darme una vuelta por alla y hacer fotografia en San Salvador.

  17. El hermano Montgolfier 4 months ago | reply

    Una foto genial. El tratamiento es extraordinario. Una gran nitidez

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