San Salvador is the capital city of El Salvador, approximately in the center of the country in a valley near the base of the San Salvador volcano. The city has a long history, with origins dating back to the Spanish conquest of the Pipil tribes.
San Salvador lies in the "Valle de las Hamacas" (literally "Valley of the hammocks", as it was named by the colonizing Spaniards, due to its intense earthquake activity) at the foot of the San Salvador volcano. It covers an area of 600 square km and is home to nearly 2 million people. It is home to one-third of El Salvador's population and one-half of the country's wealth. The people of San Salvador are generally friendly, though as in any large city, less inclined to engage in conversations with strangers on the street as opposed to other parts of the country. The established suburbs of Colonia San Benito, Colonia Escalon, Colonia San Francisco and Colonia Maquilishuat were traditionally the enclaves of the country's elite, with large estates and beautiful tree-lined avenues. These areas and their surrounds were largely untouched during the civil war that ravaged the country, but became the epicenter of the 'Final Offensive' in 1989 when anti-government forces launched a surprise attack on the capital, a move that signaled the beginning of the end of the brutal war. Due to rapid population growth, these areas have become high-density in parts, where older houses have given way to modern residential and commercial towers. While many older mansions remain residential, others have been turned into boutique cafes, small bars, restaurants and foreign embassies. Most tourists choose to stay in these areas as they remain the more pleasant, leafy and safer parts of the city. Museums, Art Galleries and Theaters are located here.