Ilobasco is located in the department of Cabañas, on top of a hill at 780 m above sea level. Ilobasco is at 54 km to the east of San Salvador on the Pan-American road.

The former name of the town given by the Spaniards was "San Miguel de Ilobasco". Its population from Lenca origin first settled in Sitio Viejo, 6 km from its current location.

Ilobasco is very famous for its ceramic; one of the oldest artisan towns in the country and Central America. Some say its ceramic activity began sometime in the 1700s. Ilobasco receives many tourists every year because of the ceramic.

Four kinds of ceramic can be found: Traditional (comales, pots, pans, cantaros, flower pots, etc); Popular (Christmas gifts such as catholic images: Saint Joseph, the virgin Maria, mules, ox, and the 3 magic kings); Decorative (all sort of original designs) and Typical Ceramic (the kind that represents small human figures and their daily work, also known as miniatures).

Ms. Dominga Herrera, daughter of two pottery artisans, was one of the first artisans in town. At the early age of 15 and after leaving school due to the lack of resources, she began creating the small mud figurines. She couldn't keep studying but made a living out of her handcrafts. Her work has become so famous than even the magazine National Geographic wrote an article on her in November 1944.

Of all the figures in ceramic, the most preferred ones are the "sorpresas". These are small egg shaped figurines covered by a sort of cap that when opened reveal a daily activity of the town or even some sexual image, suggested only for those above 18.

Ilobasco is also famous for its "moliendas" (production of dulce de atado). The town celebrates its patron saint festivities on September 22nd to 29th in honor of San Miguel Arcangel.

© 2005 Tourism in El Salvador