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Shrines in El Salvador honor martyrs and victims of violence

  • One of several shrines inside San Miguelito Municipal Market, San Salvador, El Salvador
  • Mural outside the Divina Providencia Hospital, a hospice where Archbishop Oscar Romero worked and was assassinated in 1980. San Salvador, El Salvador.
  • Nativity, one of several small shrines in San Miguelito Municipal Market, San Salvador, El Salvador
  • A shrine at an intersection in Suchitoto, El Salvador.
  • Statue of St. Michael the Archangel, Iglesia Catolica Maria Auxiliadora Don Rua, San Salvaror, El Salvador.
  • San Antonio Sonsonate, El Salvador: The stairs behind the altar invite believers to the statue of St. Anthony.
  • Religious goods for sale outside of church, San Antonio Sonsonate, El Salvador; the small orange wax figures are meant as ex voto offerings to San Antonio, the choice of body part depends on the kind of healing one needs.
  • A roadside memorial near La Paz, El Salvador. Thousands of similar memorials, often well-tended, dot the roads in the country. Photo by Marty Kelly.
  • A roadside memorial near La Paz, El Salvador. Thousands of similar memorials, often well-tended, dot the roads in the country. Photo by Marty Kelly.
  • A roadside memorial near La Paz, El Salvador. Thousands of similar memorials, often well-tended, dot the roads in the country. Photo by Marty Kelly.

El Salvador has many small roadside crosses that mark the spots where people have died in accidents.

One also frequently sees localized shrines in public spots like markets, intersections and assassination sites. People commonly leave flowers — real or artificial. Only in a small number of places, like a shrine to St. Anthony at San Antonio Sonsonate or to Our Lady of Guadeloupe in San Salvador, does one see ex voto offerings, and even these are small and symbolic, made of wax in a uniform style. 

Shrines also commemorate the loss of lives to violence in El Salvador, such as the grotto inside the ruins of the original Nuestra Señora de la Asunción church, Izalco.

The church of Santa Lucia in Juayúa has a popular shrine to the Cristo Negro.

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