Palacio Arzobispal - The Archbishop’s Palace
Not every country has an archbishop’s palace – a place of residence for the archbishop. With a strong Spanish cultural and religious influence, Ecuador is home to just such a building. The Palacio Arzobispal in Ecuador is certainly no ordinary building and it stands out against other buildings in Quito. This massive construction was built sometime after Pope Paul III ordered that a Diocese of San Francisco de Quito be established and headed by a bishop. That was on 8 January 1545 and before long construction on the edifice had begun. The cathedral was the central focus point of the palace and the bishop and his assistants lived in a number of different houses that were built around the cathedral. Though the place has changed somewhat today, it is interesting to learn about the history of The Archbishop’s Palace.
You will find this magnificent palace in the Plaza de la Independencia. Now serving more as a food court than a religious establishment, this graceful building has long columns, endless corridors and a number of peaceful inner patios. The walls are whitewashed and a number of wooden balconies further add to the appeal of the palace. While it may not resemble the Archbishop’s Palace in Spain, it certainly does hold its own against other large buildings in Ecuador. The Palacio Arzobispal has served as the bishop’s residence from 1700, though it has seen little – if any – religious activity in recent years. It was rebuilt or upgraded on two different occasions. The first was in 1858 and the second took place between 1975 and 1978.
If you’re not much of one for religious buildings don’t despair. While this building has an interesting religious history, it certainly doesn’t serve as a somber religious institute today. For one thing, it is now one of Quito’s most busy food courts, serving anything from fast food burgers and fries to fancy dinners. It also houses a number of shops that offer a wide selection of good-quality goods. On the weekends the place further comes to life as dancers and singers make their way to the palace courtyard to provide free entertainment for the masses. It’s a great place to spend some time and no trip to Quito would be complete without enjoying at least one meal at El Palacio Arzobispal.