Sanctuary to the Virgin of Guapulo , Sights, Tourist Attractions
Just outside of the city of Quito on the road from Hotel Quito, you will come to the fascinating historic village known as Guápula. Before meandering down to the village itself, the road offers tourists an exquisite view of the little village. Entering the village you instantly feel Bohemian overtones as you see many artists at work. One of the greatest attractions in the village is the Sanctuary to the Virgin of Guápulo, also known as the sanctuary of Guápulo and Guápulo Church.
The Sanctuary of Guápulo is well known for being one of the oldest religious sanctuaries in the country and it is probably the oldest in Quito. Since its construction many centuries ago the Guápulo sanctuary has seen countless visitors who visit in search of religious fulfillment. In 1596 Bishop Luis Solís had a church built on the site and dedicated it to the Virgin of Guadalupe. The building of the Guápulo Sanctuary that we see today only took place in 1649 and the building was built over the church that originally occupied the site. Brother Antonio Rodriguez was responsible for its construction.
The Guápulo Church is a large structure with a neoclassical facade. A massive Latin cross marks the structure, which also features a large dome. The belfry consists of two towers. Inside you will discover a treasure trove of religious items. The pulpit is a magnificent sight. It was created by a local sculptor named Menacho during the 1700s. It has been declared by many to be the most intricate pulpit in all of South America. Miguel de Santiago and Nicolás Javier de Goribar were given the privilege of decorating the impressive church of Guápulo. You will be awestruck by the paintings of these fine artists. Santiago’s paintings are dramatic and are filled with American realism that will send a chill down your spine. You will also see a fine image of the Lady of Guadalupe, which is still worshipped, created by Diego de Robles.
Unfortunately the sanctuary of Guápulo was ravaged by fire and for many years it remained abandoned. Finally in 1930 it was repaired. Today it is an important religious center that attracts people for both sightseeing and worship. You can arrive at the sanctuary by car after a short ten-minute drive but many opt to walk along the old paved roadway. Visiting hours for the Guápulo Church are 09:30 am to 12:30 pm and 03:30 pm to 06:00 pm on Mondays through to Saturdays.