Metropolitan Cathedral of Quito

Ecuador's city of Quito is well-known for its impressive architectural heritage. Visitors strolling through the city will discover exquisite squares with massive, brilliantly designed structures carefully decorated both outside and in. Amongst the most fascinating buildings are the elaborately designed churches and cathedrals housing exquisite works of art, carved images and golden altars. One of the greatest of these is the renowned Metropolitan Cathedral of Quito located in the Independence Plaza.

Construction on the awe-inspiring Metropolitan Cathedral started some time between 1550 and 1560, with various additions and renovations being made until it stood completed in 1806. A fine historical example of past architectural styles, the Cathedral of Quito stands proudly as an important religious symbol for the people of the city. Those who come to view this fine structure will be impressed by the number of styles that blend so well together in the architecture of the Metropolitan Cathedral. The arches feature late Gothic design, whilst the main altar is more Baroque in nature. Notably, the choir area is Neoclassic and the ceilings boast Moorish styling.

Not only is the design of the Metropolitan Cathedral building a marvelous sight, but so are its contents. Inside you will discover an array of colonial art of the highest standard. Works include those done by Manuel Samaniego. You will notice his "Ascension of the Virgin" in a prominent position. There is a piece by Caspicara entitled "Descent of Christ from the Cross". There are also paintings created at the Quito school.

Interestingly the Metropolitan Cathedral of Quito is the resting place of many well-known people. This includes the tomb of Mariscal Sucre, Antonio Jose de Sucre, Cardinal de la Torre and some of the Republic's presidents as well as other priests and bishops. Cardinal de la Torre was born Carlos Maria Javier in Quito on 14 November 1873. He became the first Roman Catholic bishop in Ecuador to be promoted to cardinal. He died in 1968 and was buried at the cathedral.

Quito's Metropolitan Cathedral has occasionally found itself at the center of protest movements, when it has been occupied by large groups of protesters. Certainly the cathedral has a long and interesting history. Visitors can easily tour the cathedral, even enjoying night tours.

 



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