Palacio del Gobierno
In Quito you will discover the Palacio del Gobierno or, as it is known in English, the Presidential Palace. The actual building was originally built in 1650 in a neoclassical style and it served as the governor's office. In 1920 the Palace burnt down, only to be quickly re-built. The new building was designed by a collaboration of architects, so you may notice that a number of distinctive architectural styles are evident in the design of the building. When you stand outside you will see two rows of windows, balconies and a clock at the top. The clock still has a bullet hole from a bullet that was fired by Francisco Villa many years ago.
If you are planning to visit the area you should definitely make time to visit the Palacio del Gobierno. However you might want to make sure that it will be open when you plan to visit as the Palace closes when the President is staying there. You will also only be allowed into the entrance area - but it is still worth the visit even if it’s just to get an idea of where the President lives. When the Presidential Palace is open, the public will be allowed to visit from 09:00 to 15:00 and then again from 16:00 to 19:00 everyday except Saturday and Sunday when it is only open from 10:00 to 12:30.
Before you visit Palacio del Gobierno you could also go to the tourism information booth that is located just behind the entrance gate to the Palace. Here you will be able to obtain a color map and guide that has been written in both languages. The map not only gives you the layout of the grounds and of the building, but it also provides visitors with points of interest that you can look out for.
By the stairway on the right hand side of the inner patio you will notice a mural depicting Francisco de Orellana’s renowned descent of the Amazon. The mural was completed by Guayasamin, a famous artist in Ecuador who is known by everyone. There is another mural, called the "Orozco mural", which was completed in 1937 and pictures Father Miguel Hidalgo holding a torch in his hand as he takes the lead against Communism, Catholicism, Fascism and Capitalism. So visit this great building and enjoy the architecture and art that has made it so popular.