Catedral Metropolitana de Quito

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715 Venezuela y Espejo, Quito, Ecuador
(02) 257-0371
Catedral Metropolitana de Quito - Cathedral, Quito
Catedral Metropolitana de Quito - Cathedral at night
Catedral Metropolitana de Quito - Cathedral altar
Catedral Metropolitana de Quito - Cathedral, Quito

Catedral Metropolitana de Quito Reviews

Toonsarah Toonsarah
533 reviews
Visiting the cathedral Oct 25, 2012
Quito’s cathedral was the first such building to be erected in South America, between 1550 and 1562, although it has been since restored several times owing to earthquake damage. It is today a fascinating mix of 16th century colonial Spanish design and local native influences. As an example of the latter, on the wall to the right of the altar there is a painting of the Last Supper with dishes that include cuy (roast guinea pig) and humitas (fresh ground corn mixed with egg, sometimes cheese and other flavourings, wrapped in corn husks and steamed) – it’s unlikely that either of these would have been on the menu in 30 AD Jerusalem!

On the whole though, the interior is less flamboyant than some of the other smaller churches in the city, but no less interesting for that. As well as the painting mentioned above, look out for the hammered-relief silver doors of the rear chapel, through which you enter, and the beautiful wooden ceiling which dates back to the turn of the 19th century. I also liked the dramatic altarpiece in sky blue picked out with lots of gold – as the most ornate piece of decoration in the cathedral it really draws the eye forwards to the altar, as it is of course intended to do.

The cathedral has seen its share of bloodshed. A bishop of Quito, José Ignacio Checa y Barba, was murdered here during the Good Friday mass in March 1877, poisoned with strychnine dissolved in the consecrated wine. Only two years earlier, in 1875, the Ecuadorian president Gabriel García Moreno was attacked with a machete outside the cathedral and was brought inside – a plaque behind the altar marks the spot where he died. His is one of several notable tombs in the cathedral, and another is that of Mariscal Sucre, one of Ecuador’s heroes of independence. You will recognise both these names as they are commemorated in nearby streets – Moreno runs just behind the cathedral and intersects with Avenida José de Sucre just a block away.

Admission to the cathedral cost us $1.50 (October 2012). No photography is allowed inside, as seemed (frustratingly) to be the norm in Quito, but I have to confess that I did sneak one of the altar, without using flash, obviously.

While there appears to be an entrance from the Plaza de la Independencia, and indeed one from Moreno, in fact you enter through an unprepossessing doorway on Venezuela, almost lost in a row of small shops.
Cathedral, Quito
Cathedral, Quito
Cathedral altar
Cathedral at night
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