Quito Cathedral is located at Independence Square in the center of the Ecuadorian capital. It is the "Primada Catedral", the most important church in the country. The main entrance is not at the square, but in the Calle Eugenio Espejo. After the founding of the city of San Francisco de Quito on 6 December 1534 and the subsequent planning of the city and the allocation of land, the cathedral was assigned the entire southern part of the main square "Plaza Mayor". The first provisional church, built between 1562 and 1565 by Pedro Rodríguez de Aguayo, was a mudbrick construction with a thatched roof. In the following years, the cathedral was built according to the plans of Antonio Garcia in stone and was inaugurated in 1572. In 1660, the cathedral was destroyed by an earthquake and rebuilt soon. More earthquakes destroyed parts of the church, which was rebuilt again and again. The Cathedral of Quito has three naves, in the right nave there are several chapels. The building is associated with the Gothic Mudejar style because of the arches and the Alfarjes (wooden ceilings in Moorish style).
The Iglesia de Compania de Jesus in Quito is one of the most beautiful churches in South America. Pope Francis and John Paul II have already visited the church. The Jesuit Order arrived in Quito in 1586 to build a church, a school and a monastery in the city. In 1622, the University of San Gregorio was built. Around 1614, the construction of the Iglesia de Compania de Jesus began. The baroque portal made of volcanic rock was completed in 1765. The construction of the Iglesia de Compania de Jesus lasted more than 160 years, bringing together four different styles. Very dominant is the baroque style, many ornaments were executed in the Mudejar style (Moorish) and elements of the Churrigueresque style were adopted, named after a Spanish sculptor from the region of Madrid-Salamanca and in the chapel of Santa Maria Neoclassical style elements were used.
The Franciscan convent occupies the largest area in the historic center of Quito. The area extends over two blocks and occupies the entire width of the square. The Iglesia de San Francisco in Quito is therefore often compared to El Escorial north of Madrid. However, this comparison is very daring, yet the monastery is very impressive. Before the Spaniards conquered Quito, the palace of Inca king Huayna Capac stood here. The palace was lit by the Incas before the city was conquered. The Spaniards built church on the property from 1537 onward. The construction of today's Iglesia de San Francisco began in 1550, the church was inaugurated in 1705. The King of Spain Karl V had financially supported the construction. The church was very likely designed in Madrid.
The monastery is a closed collection of buildings and gardens. An elegant staircase connects the monastery with the square and the city. Due to the long construction period and destruction by earthquakes, the San Francisco church unites various architectural styles. Baroque and late Renaissanceare the dominant styles, in the interior also Mudejar elements were used. The relatively simple appearance of the facades is reversed in the interior by gold and lush decorations. Famous are the gilded coffered ceilings, which form a lavish church space with the blue dome.
The monastery of the Dominicans was built in 1540, when the Order had received the land in the south of Quito. The Iglesia de Santo Domingo was completed in 1688. The nave is covered with cedar wood covered with gold leaf, as well as numerous paintings and carvings adorning the interior. In addition to the main altar, the ten side chapels enrich the church with beautiful wood and gold leaf work. The cloister has corridors and double archways with octagonal pillars designed by Francisco Becerra. In the patio are tall palm trees. On the square in front of the church stands the independence fighter Marshal Antonio José de Sucre.
The Carondelet Palace is the seat of government and official residence of the President of the Republic of Ecuador. It is located in the historic center of the city of Quito. It is one of the most important symbols of the Ecuadorian state. The Carondelet Palace stands at the main square of the capital, the Plaza de la Independencia or Plaza Grande as it was called by the Spaniards. The palace was named after Francisco Luis Hector Baron de Carondelet, who had the façade rebuilt. Carondelet served from 1799 until his death in 1807 for the Spanish king as president of the Royal audience of Quito, from where he ruled today's Ecuador, northern Peru and Colombia. He received the scientists Alexander von Humboldt and Aimé Bonpland in 1803 during their visit to Quito. In contrast to Lima and Mexico City, where the conquerors Francisco Pizarro and Hernán Cortés reserved the best plots at the Plaza Mayor for their palaces, the city founder of Quito, Sebastian Benalcázar, built his house in the area of the Olmedo / Benalcázar intersection the provisional Plaza Mayor. Later, the Plaza Mayor was moved to today's Plaza de la Independencia. In 1627, the royal family bought all the buildings on this side of the square and built a representative palace. Under the rule of Carondelet the palace was rebuilt and therefore bears his name.
The Teatro Sucre was opened in 1886 at the Mercado de las Carnicerías de Quito. The market place of Butchers of Quito was then renamed in Plaza del Teatro. The theater itself was named after the freedom fighter Antonio José Francisco de Sucre y Alcalá. Formerly bullfighting took place on the square, which then became the meat market. The city decided to relocate the slaughterhouses to the gates of the city and so the square got a theater. The Teatro Sucre was designed by the German architect Franz Schmidt in the classical style. The classic form was inspired by Palladio. The pediment is adorned with a golden frieze depicting the Greek god Apollon (recognizable by the zither) as head of the muses and the muses: Calliope, Clio, Erato, Euterpe, Melpomene, Polyhymnia, Thalia, Terpsichore and Urania. The "Teatro Sucre" can accommodate 804 visitors.
The Basilica del Voto Nacional is a church born of a national promise and funded by the state and donations from the citizens. On the initiative of Father Julio Matovelle in 1883, it was decided to build a church on behalf of Ecuador for the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Construction began in 1892. The church was designed by Emilio Tarlier in neo-Gothic style. In 1924 the building was completed but inaugurated in 1988. The Basilica del Voto Nacional stands on a slope north of the historic center of Quito, with its two towers rising 115 meters each. This makes it one of the most striking buildings of Quito.
The Virgin of Quito stands on the hill El Panecillo (Small Bread), which rises southwest of the historic center above the city. The statue Virgen del Panecillo is 30 m high and stands on a 11 m high pedestal. It is as big as the Jesus Statue of Rio de Janeiro. The Virgin of Quito is made of aluminum and was built in 1975. Like the Basilica del Voto Nacional, the Virgen del Panecillo goes back to an idea of Father Julio María Matovelle. The sculpture is a magnification of the Blessed Virgin Mary by Bernardo de Legarda, which stands as a figure in a chapel in the Iglesia de San Francisco. The cheerful Maria crushes a snake with her feet, symbolizing the sin. The Virgen del Panecillo has become the symbol of Quito. The view from the Panecillo is one of the highlights of any sightseeing tour.
About 23 kilometers north of Quito runs the Equator, which gave the Ecuador its name. At the place where Frenchman Charles-Marie de La Condamine determined the position of the equator in 1736. The 30 m high monolith was built in 1982. The exact position of the equator is indeed a few hundred meters away, but that does not make much difference in the dimensions of the planet.