City of Quito

Discover the capital of Ecuador

UNESCO World Heritage

El Panecillo

Sanctuary of the Virgin of El Quinche (1978) by City of QuitoUNESCO World Heritage

A highly unique architectural and monumental ensemble

Quito, the capital of Ecuador, was founded in the 16th century on the ruins of an Inca city and stands at an altitude of 2,850m. Despite the 1917 earthquake, the city has the best-preserved, least altered historic centre in Latin America. The monasteries of San Francisco and Santo Domingo, and the Church and Jesuit College of La Compañía, with their rich interiors, are pure examples of the 'Baroque school of Quito', which is a fusion of Spanish, Italian, Moorish, Flemish and indigenous art.

Arco de la Reina (1978) by City of QuitoUNESCO World Heritage

Arco de la Reina

It was built for religious purposes in 1726 by José Jaime Ortiz. There are two arches formed from lime, which extend from the eastern edge of the convent of Carmen Antiguo to the western facade of an old chapel built at the San Juan de Dios Hospital.

Basílica Del Voto Nacional (1978) by City of QuitoUNESCO World Heritage

Basílica Del Voto Nacional

The Basílica Del Voto Nacional also called the Consecration of Jesus or Basilica of San Juan, is a neo-Gothic religious building in the historic centre of the city of Quito; because of its size and style it is considered the largest neo-Gothic temple in the Americas.

Church and monastery of El Carmen Alto (1978) by City of QuitoUNESCO World Heritage

Carmen Alto

The church and monastery of El Carmen Alto is a Catholic convent, it is part of the churches and chapels raised in the Historic Centre of the city of Quito, capital of Ecuador. Located on Garcia Moreno Street which was formerly known as De las Siete Cruces.

Carmen Bajo (1978) by City of QuitoUNESCO World Heritage

Carmen Bajo

The Carmen Bajo or Carmen Moderno was originally established in 1669 in Latacunga 100 km south of Quito by Carmelite nuns but destroyed by an earthquake in 1698. Years later, the remains of the convent were taken north to Quito, where it was rebuilt between 1718 and 1726. The final inauguration occurred in 1745. It is without doubt an architectural treasure, place of contemplation and spirituality for the religious.

Cathedral Primada de Quito (1978) by City of QuitoUNESCO World Heritage

Catedral Primada De Quito

This church was one of the first constructions after the foundation of Quito. On its facade are the lists of the founders and the first neighbours of the Villa de Quito; inside it tells the story of religious and cultural Quito.

San Diego Cemetery (1978) by City of QuitoUNESCO World Heritage

Cementerio De San Diego

The San Diego Cemetery is a cemetery located in the San Roque neighbourhood, in the Historic Centre of Quito, Ecuador. The cemetery was inaugurated in 1872, in an area where a number of soldiers had been buried after the Battle of Pichincha.

Centro Cultural Metropolitano (1978) by City of QuitoUNESCO World Heritage

Metropolitan Cultural Centre

The land where the Metropolitan Cultural Centre is located today, once belonged to the order of the Society of Jesus which in 1622 built the San Gregorio Magno University. 
When the Jesuits were expelled from the territories in 1767, the university passed into the hands of the Spanish crown, which merged it with that of the Dominicans under the name of the Royal Public University of Santo Tomás de Aquino. 

In this historic building, the patriot Eugenio Espejo would plant the libertarian ideals of the future Ecuadorian nation that in 1809 would unleash the first calls for independence.
Also, in its classrooms and laboratories he installed and worked the Geodetic Mission that drew and defined the equinoctial line. Finally, on May 13, 1830, the Separation Act of Gran Colombia was signed in its main hall, from which the new state of Ecuador was constituted.

Calle La ronda (1978) by City of QuitoUNESCO World Heritage

Criteria for Selection

Criterion (ii): The influence of the Baroque school of Quito (Escuela Quitena) was recognized in the cultural domain, especially art – architecture, sculpture and painting – in all the cities of the Audencia, and even in those of the neighbouring Audencia.
Criterion (iv): Quito forms a harmonious sui generis where the actions of man and nature come together, to create a unique and transcendental work of its kind.

Church of la Compañía de Jesús (1978) by City of QuitoUNESCO World Heritage

Iglesia De La Compañía De Jesús


It is a living example of art and faith in Ecuador, a true expression of the Baroque, built between 1605 and 1765. La Compañía de Jesús is Quito’s most ornate church and a standout among the baroque splendors of the Old Town. The prowess of colonial Quito artisans contributed as well, covering the temple in gold and gifting magnificent works of art. 

The height of this art is represented by veritable spiritual citadels, among which are San Francisco, San Domingo, San Augustin, La Compañía, La Merced, the Sanctuary of Guapulco and the Recoleta of San Diego, to name just the principal ones. These are recognized not only for their artistic value from the architectural viewpoint but also for their decorative elements (altarpieces, paintings, sculptures).

Santo Domingo Church (1978) by City of QuitoUNESCO World Heritage

Iglesia de Santo Domingo

This Church is another example of a fusion of Spanish, Italian, Moorish and indigenous art. At the end of the XIX century the Italian religious mission eliminated the old baroque and replaced it with a sober and elegant neo-Gothic Renaissance style that is appreciated today. Inside is the El Rosario chapel, a magnificent expression of the Quito baroque from the 18th century. 

Church of San Agustín (1978) by City of QuitoUNESCO World Heritage

Iglesia De San Agustín

The site was assigned to the Augustinian order in 1573, when they began the construction of the convent. Later the church would be built between 1606 and 1617 by Juan del Corral, based on the plans that the architect Francisco Becerra designed in 1581.
Details on the roof reveal the neoclassical style in which Spanish and Amerindian decorative elements are mixing.

Guápulo (1978) by City of QuitoUNESCO World Heritage

Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de Guápulo

The devotion to the Virgin of Guadalupe has its home at the Church of Our Lady of Guápulo. Originally, the devotion was brought by Spanish conquistadors, and the design of the building is a clear product of the Baroque, with a wonderful Baroque and Mudejar-style interior. Inside the sacristy, you can see several paintings depicting the miracles of the Virgin by Colonial artist Miguel de Santiago.

Convent Museum of San Diego (1978) by City of QuitoUNESCO World Heritage

Recoleta of San Diego

Founded in 1597, the San Diego Convent was the first Franciscan recoleta in Ecuador and the second in all of South America. 

Visit Quito (1978) by City of QuitoUNESCO World Heritage

Church and Convent of St. Francis (1978) by City of QuitoUNESCO World Heritage

Iglesia y Convento de San Francisco

The great majority of attributes upon which the Outstanding Universal Value of the City of Quito is based are present and intact. The Historic Centre of Quito has conserved its original configuration, with new constructions being built outside of the colonial centre. Indeed, based on the first plan of Quito designed in 1734 by Dionisio Alcedo y Herrera, one notes that the original plan of the streets, the blocks of houses and squares – with a few rare exceptions – is the same as can be seen today.

A walk on the San Francisco plaza.

Railway (1978) by City of QuitoUNESCO World Heritage

Railway from Quito to the Andes

The railway represents the largest infrastructure of the country with a total length of 965.5 km.

Independence Square (1978) by City of QuitoUNESCO World Heritage

Plaza De La Independencia

The main square of the city, during the festivities, is adorned with various decorations and fills with people, where there are artistic presentations. It is surrounded by the main government´s offices and church.

Calle La ronda (1978) by City of QuitoUNESCO World Heritage

La Ronda

La Ronda is a beautiful street in the Historic Centre of the city. It is said to be one of the oldest streets in Quito and has been nicely restored, many crafts and local food are part of the charm of this wonderful place.

Sanctuary of the Virgin of El Quinche (1978) by City of QuitoUNESCO World Heritage

Iglesia Del Quinche

For the construction of the temple in 1904 Brother Jacinto Pankiani of the order of Don Bosco, made the basic plans by taking, as a model the Basilica of Santa Maria la Mayor of Rome. The temple was built between 1913 and 1924 by Father Bruning, a Lazarist of German origin whose work focused on the design and construction of religious buildings in the Romantic and Gothic style.

San Marcos (1978) by City of QuitoUNESCO World Heritage

Iglesia San Marcos

The church is located in one of the oldest sectors of the Historic Centre, the San Marcos neighbourhood.

Museum of Maria Augusta Urrutia (1978) by City of QuitoUNESCO World Heritage

Casa Museum Maria Urrutia

This beautiful mansion was donated to the Fundación Mariana de Jesús by its owner, Doña María Augusta Urrutia after her death in 1987.

Credits: Story

This exhibit was created by Quito Turismo: www.quito-turismo.gob.ec
More on City of Quito: whc.unesco.org/en/list/2/ 
Photos: Quito Turismo

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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