Quito’s Historical Presidential Palace
Located on Independence Square in Quito, the origin of the Carondelet Palace (Palacio de Carondelet) dates back to the late 16th century, and since 2007 this iconic building has been open as a museum to the public. Built in the French Renaissance and Spanish Baroque architectural styles, the palace was fully refurbished in 1881 under the direction of Barón Luis Héctor de Carondelet, who engaged Antonio Garcia to carry out the work. It was the influential military and political leader Simón Bolíver who reportedly named the building Carondelet Palace as he acknowledged that the building reflected the personal taste of the Baron of Carondelet who had undertaken its renovation.
Following the Battle of Pichincha which took place in 1822, the palace became the headquarters of Gran Colombia’s South Department. Over the years, various presidents have made changes to the building, but it has continued to serve an integral role in Ecuador’s government. There are several reception rooms for government-related events and meetings, and the third floor of the palace is reserved as a residence for the President of Ecuador and his family.
It was in 2007 that the President of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, converted part of the palace into a museum for the benefit of Ecuadorians and visitors to the country. A superb collection of art is on display, including a beautiful mural by Ecuadorian artist Oswaldo Guayasamin depicting the discovery of the Amazon River. Visitors will also see items of furniture, some of which are replicas of the originals, as well as a variety of other items of historical and cultural value.
Independence Square is home to some of Quito’s most significant attractions, with the square being an attraction in its own right. In pride of place in Independence Square is a monument honoring those who, in August 1809, called for independence from the Royal Audience of Quito – an administrative unit of the Spanish Empire that governed at the time. Landscaped gardens give the area a tranquil atmosphere, and the historic buildings surrounding the square – the Archbishop’s Palace, Metropolitan Cathedral, Municipal Palace, Hotel Plaza Grande and Carondelet Palace – are permanent reminders of the history of the capital city of Ecuador.