El Sagrario, the Church That    Took On a Life of Its Own

El Sagrario - meaning tabernacle or sanctuary - Church on Garcia Moreno, next to the cathedral, developed into a chapel spilling out from the Catedral. It faces Centro Cultural Metropolitano, which evolved from Universidad Central or Central University. Schools proliferated along with the churches.

Completed in the mid 1700's to care for the priests' needs, it solidly and determinedly took on a life of its own serving the needs of the parish as a chapel rather than remaining a sanctuary for the priests.

Since Catholics dominated, and the faith proved strong, more and more space to accommodate them became necessary so they wouldn't have to stand outside during services.

The Artists

In architecture and fresco art, artist Legarda truly stamped his mark here. His screen bursts forth in panoramic splendor. In 1789 this place of worship beamed as one of the three most beautiful in Quito. The beauty never left.

The unappreciated indigenous continued unnoticed for their very important contribution in the architecture until recently... their art stigmatized as "Indian."

Besides Bernardo Legarda, two other names shine - Francisco Tipan, artist and Blas Cimbana, sculptor. His untimely death left the finishing of his work to Pasqual de Rojas.

Adornments were designed under Spanish direction, as the custom of the day mandated.

The Dome

A central vault leads up to an elegant dome, where more Legarda frescos of biblical scenes dominate. Some are assembled on different levels in breathtaking magnificence... really worth a tour.

You need a guide in order to view these. Individuals can't go on their own. Besides, tour guides usually have interesting facts, stories or legends to share with you.

Incomplete History

El Sagrario Church joins the rest of the best in a test. Although no history of miracles exists, it only means that miracles that may have happened here went unrecorded.

Sometimes histories remained incomplete, and wars destroyed more than buildings.


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