By Eukaris Maurera - Photographs Courtesy of Municipalidad de Quito
An experience of just one day allows you to see that this is a celestial city. Start with a tour of the main cathedrals including the imposing Roman Catholic Basilica of the National Vow. It is also called the Consecration of Jesus or the Basilica of St. John. This is a stunning, religious building of neo-gothic style in the historical center of the city of Quito. Due to its immense size and style, it is considered the largest neo-gothic Basilica in the Americas.
The architect of the Basilica was the Frenchman Emilio Tarlier, who had already had experience in similar constructions in Spain, France, and England. Constructed at the turn of the 20th century, it was opened in 1909. However, though officiated on October 16, 1919, the service of mass was not celebrated there until 1924.
The Basilica is 140 meters long (460 ft.) by 35 meters wide (115 ft.) and 30 meters high (98 ft.) in the sanctuary and 74 m (243 ft.) high in the transept. Two frontal towers reach 115 meters (377 ft.) high, a detail that makes the basilica the second tallest religious structure on the South American
continent just behind the Cathedral of Maringá in Brazil at 124 meters.
Instead of gargoyles, the basilica has details highly representative of Ecuador, such as condors, armadillos, giant tortoises from the Galapagos, and iguanas. The condor is the national bird of Ecuador and crowns its national coat of arms, just as it crowns this basilica. From the highest point of the main tower, you can see most of the city and the surrounding mountains. The basilica remains technically “unfinished.” Local legend says, “When the basilica is completed, the end of the world will come.” It was blessed by Pope John Paul II in 1985 and was consecrated and inaugurated in 1988.
The City of Quito, frequently referred to as “San Francisco de Quito,” is the political capital of the Republic of Ecuador, the oldest of South America and of the Province of Pichincha. It is Ecuador’s second largest city and the second most populated in Ecuador. It is also the cantonal or district head of the Metropolitan District of Quito and is currently considered the economic capital of the country.