Catedral de la Inmaculada Concepción

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Benigno Malo y Mariscal Sucre, Cuenca, Ecuador
098 333 5238
Catedral de la Inmaculada Concepción - Stained glass
Catedral de la Inmaculada Concepción - West front
Catedral de la Inmaculada Concepción - Cathedral domes
Catedral de la Inmaculada Concepción - Cathedral from Plazoleta del Carmen
Catedral de la Inmaculada Concepción - West front at night
Catedral de la Inmaculada Concepción - Cathedral dome

Catedral de la Inmaculada Concepción Cuenca Reviews

Toonsarah Toonsarah
533 reviews
The "new" cathedral Nov 01, 2012
The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception is the newer of Cuenca’s two cathedrals, and its distinctive blue domes have become a symbol of the city. You see them everywhere – on tourist publicity leaflets, on restaurant menus, on hotel websites and more. Ironically, you don’t see them very well when in front of the cathedral itself, as they are set back a little – the best views are from nearby Plaza San Francisco.

This is the largest structure in the colonial part of Cuenca. The domes are almost 50 metres high and its towers should have been even taller than they are had the architect not made an error in his calculations and failed to dig foundations strong and deep enough to support the planned weight. But even with its truncated towers it is still an impressive sight. Started in 1885 as a replacement for the old cathedral, El Sagrario, its construction continued over the next century, and the result is a blend of neo-gothic and Romanesque. The imposing west front that faces the Parque Calderón is alabaster and local red marble, while pink marble imported from Carrara in Italy covers the floor. The domes owe their sky-blue hue to tiles from Czechoslovakia.

The inside is equally imposing in size, having been designed to hold the city’s then population of 10,000. It is somewhat austere but has some striking stained glass windows and an imposing marble altar decorated with gold leaf, a copy of one in St Peter’s in Rome. This interior was only completed in 1967, more than 80 years after the first foundations were laid.

I wasn’t sure whether photos were allowed inside so I only took one quick one of one of the windows that I especially liked. It is a great example of how local artists blended traditional biblical imagery with motifs from their own surroundings. See how the people who kneel at the feet of Jesus are dressed – not in the costume of first century Palestine, but in that of the Andes region.

Entry to the cathedral was free of charge when we visited (November 2012)
Cathedral domes
Cathedral dome
West front
Stained glass
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photo by: Ils1976