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Located at an elevation of more than 2,400 meters in the foothills of the Andes and in the middle of the Atacama Desert, the town of El Salvador was built solely to serve as office and residence for those working on the copper mines. The town came into being as a result of discovery of the ore in 1954, when the Anaconda Copper Mining Company, concerned about declining reserves in its Potrerillos mine, sent prospectors in search of a new source. Due to its remote location, the company had to build El Salvador as a self-contained and self-sustaining town complete with housing, schools, stores, water, electrical plants and even a railway.

Satellite images of El Salvador shows the town to be shaped like a Roman helmet. The legend goes that when an executive of Anaconda Mining Company travelled to the proposed town site with his son, the boy had with him his beloved toy - a Roman helmet, which he lost in the desert. Years later once the city was built, the boy was flown over the town and his father said “Remember the toy helmet you lost as a young boy, look down son, there it is.”

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© Amusing Planet, 2014.



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