On this half-day tour, we will visit the historic district of the Ecuadorian capital, enjoying this urban jewel and its artistic and architectural treasures. One of the largest and best preserved colonial centers in South America, Quito’s “Old Town” area was declared the first “World Heritage Site” by UNESCO, in 1978.
The visit to the historic center begins with the Basilica del Voto Nacional, one of the largest churches in Ecuador and one of the most important works of Ecuadorian neo-gothic architecture. While the outside of the building stands out for its stone carvings that represent plants and animals of the country, the inside consists of 24 chapels. Beneath the structure are crypts in which lie the remains of several former presidents of the Republic, and on top of the 100-meter-tall church is a beautiful gazebo that also serves as a small cafe.
We will continue on to the always vibrant Plaza Grande (“Independence Square”), which is surrounded by the Cathedral, the Presidential Palace, the Municipal Building and the Archbishop’s Palace. We will then visit the church of the “Compañia de Jesus” to find its impressive interior inlaid in gold.
Next we’ll walk to the San Francisco Church, one of the principal religious monuments of the New World, with its impressive facade and atrium, and its Baroque Moorish-influenced interior with the winged “Virgin of Quito” on its main altar.
A short time later, you’ll have a chance to wander through the colonial streets of the “Old City” and visit more of the buildings and plazas of historic Quito. Depending on the time and what you’d like to do, your Historic Quito tour guide can take you to a few of the capital’s best museums, or you can meander through a few of our favorite boutiques.
Your “Historic Quito Tour” will end with a birds-eye view of the city from the panoramic “Virgin of Quito” monument atop Panecillo Hill, which overlooks the capital. This will give you a chance to appreciate Quito from above, and – if the weather permits – to catch a view of the spectacular “Volcano Avenue,” two parallel mountain ranges containing eight of the country’s ten highest peaks.
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