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Country Summary for EL SALVADOR

I.  Relevant Legislation
II.  Regulated Cultural Property


The artistic, historic and archaeological heritage of the country is part of the Salvadorian cultural treasure, is protected by the State and is subject to the special laws for its conservation. (Constitution, Art. 63)

'Cultural Heritage of El Salvador'—
(a) Collections and examples of zoology…and objects of paleontological interest;
(b) Property pertaining to….military history and…to the lives of national leaders…associated with cultural events of national importance;
(c) The result of excavations whether authorized or not or of archeological discoveries;
(d) The elements resulting from the dismantling of artistic or historical monuments and places of archeological interest;
(e) Verified antiquities, such as inscriptions, coins, stamps, engravings or other objects;
(f) Ethnological material
(g) Property of artistic interest, such as:
(i) Pictures, paintings, and drawings;
(ii) Original productions of statues and sculpture;
(iii) Original engravings, stamps and lithographs;
(h)  Incunabular manuscripts, books, documents and ancient publications;
(i) Postage stamps, tax stamps;
(j) archives, including those consisting of phonograph records, photographs and films;
(k) articles of furniture and ancient musical instruments;
(l) embroidery, altar-pieces, religious artifacts of historical value;
(m) national coin and stamp collections of historical value;
(n) Incunabular manuscripts, ancient book collections…periodic publications…and other such like, maps…photographs and audiovisual materials;
(o) Official and ecclesiastical archives. (Decree No. 513, Art. 3)

Under this law all property indicated in Article 2 [concept of cultural property] will be presumed to have cultural value, whether publicly or privately owned, which will expire when the recognition indicated in Article 10 is realized, both under this law. (Decree No. 513, Art. 40)

Competent State Agencies

It is the Ministry's responsibility to identify, set standards for, preserve, safeguard, investigate and disseminate the cultural heritage of El Salvador. (Decree No. 513, Art. 5)


The owner or possessor of a potential cultural property has the obligation to notify the Ministry of its existence for his recognition, identification and certification, in order to legalize its registration within a period of not more than a year counting from the time this law took effect or since they had knowledge of it.
Said registration must be legalized in the Ministry's Register of Cultural Property. (Decree No. 513, Art. 11)

The owners and holders of cultural property, in order to enter them for the first time at the Register and accredit them, must submit them to the process of recognition and identification established in this law, within a period not to exceed one year from the date this law enters into effect. (Decree No. 513, Art. 16)

Once a cultural property has been entered in the Register, written certification of the entry will be drawn up for its owner or holder, which will serve to legitimate its status as cultural property, with the rights and obligations of the holder. (Decree No. 513, Art. 18)

III.  Export Restrictions

IV.  Ownership Rights and Restrictions

V.  Violations, Penalties and Sanctions

VI.  International Conventions and Bilateral Agreements
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Country Contact
for Cultural Property
Arq. Mercedes Salaxar
Jefe de Inventarío y Registro de Bienes Culturales
dependencia de la Dirección Nacional Patrímonio Cultural
del Consejo para Cultura y el Arte (CONCULTURA)
Edificio A-5, Plan Maestro
Centro de Gobierno
San Salvador, El Salvador, C.A. Ph: 503-2-281-0100
F: 503-2-221-4389