Seven Wonders of Quito

09/Diciembre/2011 | 11:12

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The International Bureau of Cultural Capitals declared Quito 2011 American Capital of Culture. The reality of Quito’s dynamic city life amidst a layered cultural heritage of landmark buildings was instrumental when considering Quito for this designation. The city’s continuing heartfelt effort to preserve the many examples of deep-rooted tradition and colonial architecture also proved crucial. Art and culture has also become a tool for social inclusion, with the organization of free events and creation and diversification of different venues, including public spaces, for performances and shows. Also important has been tourism that reaches the rural areas of Quito and surrounding villages, where long-lived cultural expressions are kept alive.

Music concerts of different genres, contemporary theater, dance festivals, visual arts exhibits, literature readings and other gatherings have kept the streets alive with intensity over the past months at our American Capital of Culture, ratifying Quito as a city that offers art and culture events for both residents and visitors.

The designation has also allowed Quito to value its heritage monuments and buildings. Citizens were given the opportunity to elect the 7 wonders of the city, which will forever stay in the collective memory and pride of every inhabitant. With the election of these 7 wonders, Quito has already begun to invent new ways to rediscover the city and its magic. Quito is and will always be an American Capital of Culture.

Seven Wonders of Quito

The seven wonders of Quito, selected by Internet vote:

  1. 1.       Chimbacalle Train Station

Located in the Chimbacalle neighborhood of Quito, the station is emblematic of one of the construction accomplishments in Ecuadorian History.   The Ecuadorian railway was completed in 1908 and united the coast with the capital, Quito. 

  1. 2.       Church of the Compañía de Jesús

Certainly the jewel of the historical center of Quito it is part of a larger architectural monument built by the Jesuits over a period of 160 years.  The inside of the church is decorated not only with magnificent works of art, including the 16 paintings of the prophets by Nicolas Javier Goribar from the 18th century, painted in gold leaf throughout the interior. 

  1. 3.        San Francisco Church and Convent

It is the oldest church and monastery in Quito, founded by the first order to arrive following the foundation of Quito in 1534, the Franciscans.  It is a larger architectural whole that includes the plaza, atrium and ajoining chapels such as the Chapel of Cantuña, origen of one of Quito´s most famous legends. The large baroque  alterpiece of the church is covered in gold leaf and is distinguished for the “Virgin of Quito” statue created by Bernado Legarda, one of the first and most distinguished sculptor of the Quito school of art.

  1. 4.       Basílica del Voto Nacional 

This neogothic chapel, whose construction began in the 19th century, towers above El Centro because of its elevated location on the San Juan hillside.  Breathtaking views can be had from the bell tower and it is distinguished for its gargoyles, which represent animals from the Galapagos Islands.

  1. 5.       Santuario de la Virgen de El Quinche 

Quito is not just an urban center.  It has 33 rural parishes, each with its own identity and treasures.  One of those is El Quinche, known its church and the Virgen which has been there for more than four centuries.  It is one if the most pilgrimaged churches in Ecuador.

  1. 6.       Plaza de la Independencia 

Known as the Plaza Grande it is the very heart of central Quito.  Bordered by the Presidental Palace, Cathedral Church, Archbishops Palace, and city hall, the square represents the power structures of Ecuador (the people, the church, the government) but is a testament to the dynamics of the community and a meeting place for Quito´s citizens.

  1. 7.       Virgen de El Panecillo 

This forty meter tall aluminum virgin, which watches over the city was constructed in 1976 by Spanish artista Agustin de la Herran Matorras and modeled after the Virgin of Quito by Legarda in the San Francisco Church.  It sits atop a natural viewpoint, named after its shape which appears to be a bread (panecillo).  The hillside was once the home of the sun temple prior to the Spanish conquest.




The New Seven Wonders

With the election of the seven wonders of Quito, now comes a chance to better position Quito on teh world map and in the minds of citizens from all over the world.  

With your support, Quito could become one of the new seven wonders of the world, promoted by New7Wonders organization.  To vote for Quito simply go to  Results will be announced January 1, 2012.