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  1. Basilica del Voto National Church

  2. Buenaventura Chapel

  3. Cantuña Chapel

  4. Cathedral Church

  5. Chapel of the Old San Juan de Dios Hospital (city museum)

  6. Chapel of the Rosario

  7. Chapel of the Virgin Escalera

  8. El Carmen Alto Church & Convent

  9. El Carmen Bajo Church & Convent

  10. El Sagrario Church

  11. El Tejar Church & Convent

  12. San Roque Church

  13. La Compañía Church

  14. La Concepcion Church & Monastery

  15. La Merced Church & Convent

  16. San Agustin Church & Convent

  17. San Blas Plaza

  18. San Diego Church & Convent

  19. San Francisco Church & Convent

  20. San Juan Church & Monastery

  21. San Marcos Church

  22. Santa Barbara Church

  23. Santa Catalina Church & Monastery

  24. Santa Clara Church & Convent

  25. Santo Domingo Church & Convent

Churches in Old Town Quito, the Cathedral and the Monasteries

TOP 20 COLONIAL CHURCHES IN OLD TOWN QUITO, THE MOST BEAUTIFUL CAPITAL OF THE AMERICAS! Complete list, info and pictures of all colonial churches.


The Churches of Quito and Cuenca are testimonies to the historical role that the Roman Catholic Church has played in the history of Ecuador and in the entire South American colonies of Spain. The churches in Quito - though usually designed in Spain - are different in design from the renaissance and baroque churches found in Europe, and thereby rather unique as architectural wonders, and living museums, as all of them serve as religious houses to the primarily Roman Catholic population of Ecuador. All colonial churches but one are free of charge and well worth your visit.


Quito's colonial churches, its Cathedral, and its monasteries are the core of old town Quito and the reason for Quito Capital of Ecuador to be declared UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are about two dozen historical monumental churches and convents and on this page we show you all the highlights.


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The National Cathedral borders the entire length of the South side of the Plaza de la Republica. The names of the original 204 Spanish conquerors are listed on its wall. Inside is the mausoleum of Antonio Jose de Sucre the founder of Ecuador and some of the country's most important historical figures are buried here. Adjacent is the Sagrario Church, built on top of a ravine that cut the city in two; it boasts magnificent altars and baroque elements. Across the plaza, the Conception Church and Convent was Quito's first feminine monastery and is one of five cloistered convents in the historical center.


The San Francisco Plaza is dominated by the San Francisco Church and Convent which is the home Franciscan Order. Part of the Convent is open to the Public and used as a museum. The Compañia de Jesus Church is is not only the most lavish historical church of Quito, but of all the Americas. Painted in gold leaf its exuberant interior leaves an unforgettable impression; next door is the Metropolitan Cultural Center, which houses rich rotating expositions.


Quito's other principal square is the Santo Domingo Plaza with the Santo Domingo Church & Convent, which also houses the Fray Bedon Museum; multiple chapels include the Chapel of the Rosario and the Chapel of the Virgin Escalera.


The Mercedarios have built the Merced Church and Convent, while the Augustinians have one of the greatest abaroque paintings in the collection of works by Miguel de Santiago found in the San Agustin Convent and Church.


The Carmelite Nuns built both El Carmen Alto where the order was originally located but they moved to El Carmen Bajo after an earthquake in 3 centuries ago. El Carmen Bajo is known for its rich Nativity display and El Carmen Alto is site of the former home of one of Ecuador's saints, Mariana de Jesus.


The former San Juan de Dios hospital and chapel now function as the City museum with interesting displays of the cities' history. The Santa Clara Convent, and the Santa Catalina Convent and Monastery are yet other cloistered convents. The San Diego Church and Convent are found in the southwest corner of old town Quito, next to the San Diego Cemetery.


The modest San Blas Church, is located on the beautifully restored San Blas Plaza at the outskirts of the old city and was originally a church for the indigenous people. Other churches in the periphery of the casco viejo are the El Tejar, San Roque, Santa Barbara, and San Marcos Churches.


The neogothic Basillica de Voto is a nineteenth century church that only was finished at the end of the twentieth century. While its interior is disappointing, the building dominates Quito's skyline offers a magnificent view at sunrise.



Top 25 Churches in Quito: Santo Domingo Church and ConventTop 25 Churches in Quito: Convent and Church Santo Domingo

Top 25 Churches in Quito: Santo Domingo Church and Convent

Santo Domingo Church and Convent


The Dominicans started to building their Santo Domingo Church in 1580 based on the design and direction of Francisco Becerra. The church was completed in the first half of the 16 hundreds. The main altar is neo-Gothic in style. This was placed in the late 18 hundreds by Italian Dominicans.



The roof of the Mudéjar style church features paintings of martyrs of the Order of Saint Dominic. The roof of the nave is composed of a pair and knuckle frame, coated inside by pieces of tracery. There is museum on the north side of the lower cloister with pieces of Quito sculptors. To the right of the church is the Rosario Chapel, built over the famous Arco Del La Capilla Del Rosario.


Top 25 Churches in Quito: Interior Santo Domingo ChurchTop 25 Churches in Quito: Golden altar Santo Domingo church

Top 25 Churches in Quito: Capillo del Robo at 24 de Mayo Square

Capilla del Robo on 24 de Mayo Square.

Top 25 Churches in Quito: San Agustin Church


The original San Agustin Church was built in 1573 by the order of the Agustinian Fathers. In 1868 an earthquake destroyed most of the original church and it had to be rebuilt. In 1987 another earthquake severely damaged the church after which it had to be restored again.



Top 25 Churches in Quito: Santa Catalina  Convent

Top 25 Churches in Quito: La Merced Church

Santa Catalina  Convent

The convent of the nuns of Santa Catalina de Sena, was founded in 1594 and was moved to its present building in 1613 one of the houses belonging to Lorenzo de Cepeda, a brother of Santa Teresa de Jesus. The original was improved restructured end seventeenth century, and a new roof was added in 1794. A final restoration later on removed much of the ornaments.


La Merced Church

The original La Merced Church is one block west of the Plaza Central. It was destroyed in an earthquake in 1660 and the construction of a new church started in 1701. The tower was completed in 1736, and the church was dedicated in 1747. Bernardo de Legarda was commissioned to do the main altar­piece, in 1751.

Top 25 Churches in Quito: Compañía de Jesus Church, façade

Top 25 Churches in Quito: Compañía de Jesus Church Interior

Top 25 Churches in Quito: Compañía de Jesus ChurchTop 25 Churches in Quito: The fabulous organ of the Companias de Jesus Church is the most beautiful organ of all of the Americas!

Top 25 Churches in Quito: Compañia de Jesus Church interior

Top 25 Churches in Quito: Pulpit Compañia de Jesus Church

Top 25 Churches in Quito: Altar Compañia de Jusus Church

Top 25 Churches in Quito: Entrance Compañía de Jesus Church

Top 25 Churches in Quito: Internal main doors Compañía de Jesus Church

La Compañía de Jesus Church


The La Compañía de Jesus Church was built between 1605 and 1765 and is one of the most beautiful Baroque style churches in the Americas. It is administered by the Fundacion de la Iglesia de la Compania. The Compañia de Jesus churches in Soouth America are Jesuit churches and can also be found in Lima and Arequipa.


Top 25 Churches in Quito: Carmen Alto Convent

Carmen Alto Convent


The old Carmen Alto convent was established in 1653 in the house that had belonged to Santa Mariana de Jesus and was built after the plans of Jesuit brother Marcos Guerrafor the church and the monastery. It has some fine colonial sculptures: An enormous group of the Transition of the Virgin, with polychrome carvings by Bernardo de Legarda of the Virgin lying down, watched by the apostles. The Nativity contains some wonderful statutes by Legarda. To the left of the church is the entrance of the museum belonging to the convent.



Top 25 Churches in Quito: San Juan Chapel, Museum of the city of Quito

Capilla de San Juan

The Capilla de San Juan is part of the Museum of Quito, the former San Juan Hospital. Beautifully restored, this museum gives a great impression of the history of Quito from its colonial days until the present. Also see our page on other Museums in Ecuador.

Top 25 Churches in Quito: National Cathedral, enterior

Top 25 Churches in Quito: National Cathedral

Top 25 Churches in Quito: Façade National Cathedral


The Cathedral of Quito, Catedral Metropolitana or National Cathedral on the south side of the Plaza de La Independencia, is one of the largest colonial churches of Ecuador. Its construction began in 1562, 17 years after the creation of the diocese of Quito(1545), and it was completed in 1806, during the administration of President of the Real Audiencia, Baron Héctor de Carondelet.


Top 25 Churches in Quito: Guapulo Church

Left: The Guapulo Church, lies outside of old Town Quito at a lower elevation. It no longer is in use as a church but makes up part of the many splendid Museums in Ecuador.


Left bottom: Santa Clara Church.


Right bottom: Santa Catalina Church.

Top 25 Churches in Quito: Santa Clara Churchr

Top 25 Churches in Quito: Santa Clara Church

A less dramatic and yet charming church is the Santa Clara Church.


Another less know jewel is the  and the Santa Catalina Church.

Top 25 Churches in Quito: San Blas Church.

Top 25 Churches in Quito: Plaza San Blas with playing children statues.

Another overlooked treasure is the San Blas Church at the tastefully restored San Blas Plaza at the Northern fringes of Old Town Quito. Rarely visited by foreigners, it is a quiet oases.

Top 25 Churches in Quito: San Fransisco ChurchTop 25 Churches in Quito: San Fransisco Convent & Museum

Top 25 Churches in Quito: San Fransisco Church, InteriorTop 25 Churches in Quito: San Fransisco Church, interior, ceiling

The San Francisco Church (top left) and Convent (top right) is a lavish building with a fantastic interior (left below) and a highly decorative interior roof at the balcony (right below).


Top 25 Churches in Quito: Basilica del Voto

Top 25 Churches in Quito: National Basilica del Voto

The Basilica del Voto Nacional is a large neo-Gothic building in Ecuador whose construction started in the 18hundreds and was finished late last century. It can be considered as the last of the historical churches in old town Quito.


While churches reflect the highlights of the architectonical history of Ecuador, for the smaller historical objects, one needs to visit the fabulous Museums in Ecuador. One should also not forget that there still is an incredible amount of living art in Ecuador, which you should not forget to visit. Read more: Art and Craft in Ecuador.


City tours are almost daily available. Our Andes Trek, Ecuador program includes the best National Parks of Ecuador in the Andes as well as the famous cultural highlights, like Ecuador's capital Quito, Cuenca, the Indian market in Otavalo and Ingapirca.  Please contact us for information, rates and bookings.


For detailed information on climate and weather conditions read: climate of Cuenca, Ecuador; climate Galapagos Islands in Ecuador; climate in the Amazon of Ecuador and climate of Ecuador. If you want to learn more about the country, read Ecuador Facts and Culture.



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