Colonial Churches of Quito -      UNESCO's First Grab!

Temples and More Temples

The colonial churches of Quito grabbed the attention of UNESCO.

I must confess, they grabbed mine. That's why I've toured them all and worshiped in most together with the locals, starting with the Basilica.

Embracing Plaza Grande square, the hub of the city central, the Catedral Primaria (Primary Cathedral) rests.  Altars finished and lined in gold leaf lie hidden throughout the historic center. UNESCO continues to restore them.

El Sagrario Church clings to the cathedral.

Soooo awesome... Iglesia de La Compania gleams and glows in the gold leaf. It's like stepping into the entrance to the heavenly Kingdom of God. No photos, please.

Extravagently ornate with architecture from another century, the magnificent temples never run out of admirers. Not all beauty shows on the outside. All relate exceptional history you can link to from this page...Museo de la Ciudad details the history of Quito.

Some churches house art and artifacts in their own museums.

The most fascinating witness in all of Quito radiates from the nuns at the Iglesia de la Limpia Concepcion and Convent that claims the statue of Our Lady of Good Success.

Historically rich, architecturally poor, Santa Barbara Church, one of the originals of Las Siete Cruces, rises undaunted on its chosen corner.

Colonial church Iglesia de San Francisco leads many celebration activities, the most famous of which is the Good Friday procession.

Branching off from Iglesia de San Francisco, Santa Clara remained largely neglected with no activities beginning here. Look at it now - but only very quietly during Mass hours - and gasp.

All the way to the Arco de la Reina, you will run into Carmen Alto Church and Convent of the Discalced Carmelites across from the city museum. Visit quietly and unobtrusively only during the times of the Mass, once during the week and twice on Sunday.

From Latacunga, Ecuador emerged Carmen Bajo Church and Convent .

The teaching order of Dominicans Iglesia Santo Domingo de Guzman embraced the natives amidst opposition.

Santa Catalina Church and Convent still houses the Dominican nuns since the colonial era, and its treasures of art and artifacts enhance its museum.

There's a temple in the valley with a link to the hill - no, not El Panecillo.  San Agustin Church and its separated convent of San Juan Evangelista.

The temple Iglesia de La Merced, stands out as an integral part of the founding of Quito Colonial.

No jaw-dropping cathedral...a humble chapel dubbed La Capilla de Belen...previously La Vera Cruz... evolved from a huge cross to a temporary chapel, and eventually to a permanent chapel over the place the conquistadores positioned Quito for future construction.

In its forsaken little corner San Blas church sits with its plaza no less relevant than the rest though not as stately.

Centuries old Recoleta de San Diego Church and Convent in its lowly state, proves its excellence.

Just ask the taxi driver for San Diego, and if he asks if you want to go to the cemetery, just say yes. It's right next to the Recoleta, and he won't recognize the word recoleta!

Another Franciscan recoleta, not to be missed hides the definitely colonial church and convent of El Tejar.

Off the beaten center, El Buen Pastor Colonial Church Recoleta with its museum could turn out to be the greatest find, since it could predate El Belen.

Away from the historic center, yet no less colonial rests Guapulo Church and Convent in its sunken valley.

Touring the Places of Worship

Tour Guide Angel Rea, previously of Huayras Expeditions, now Quinde Adventure del Ecuador, fills you in with the details if you desire, since he specializes and is licensed in the historic culture. On days of special celebrations, he'll happily bring you a schedule from the source wherever in Quito those celebrations originate especially when they include processions.

Processions represent faith in action. I only recommend Angel because he really knows his stuff and his enthusiasm spills over.

With all these, you want to tour them when they're open, of course.

Living Faith

Quitenos don't glue themselves to the TV, participating wholeheartedly...how refreshing!

Maybe the volcanic eruptions and/or earthquakes influenced faith here. I don't know. I only know that documented legends of apparitions of Mary and Jesus resound throughout Quito and all of Ecuador.

The plentiful active convents bring this faith to life. Many nuns still wear habits from pre-Vatican II, some from the colonial era with slight modifications.

Processions in the historic center date to its beginning...with streets blocked off for pedestrians on Sundays and holy days. On Good Friday, they emerge en masse.

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