Quito was a flourishing Inca city in 1526 when the Spanish arrived. Rather than 'give' it to the Spaniards, the ruler Ruminahui razed the city before their arrival! There are no Inca remains. What a shame! So, today's Quito was founded on the ruins in 1534. Colonists, Franciscans, Dominicans and Augustinians built churches and did they build churches, usually with the slave labor of the Indigenous people. After independence from Spain in 1830, Quito became the capital of Ecuador.
Starting around 9 am, you have to pay to get in most of the churches, but when there is early mass, you can walk in for free. Pictures are not allowed but ....
The main altar at Catedral Primaria-
There were 2 extremely gaudy side altars. Apparently there is about 65 kg of gold leaf in this church!
There are little altars off the side for private or smaller masses-
The Nativity scene shows a llama and horse peering over Jesus-
Rather than traditional gargouilles, they used iguanas and turtles-
Construction of the San Francisco Church/Monastery began a few weeks after Quito's founding in 1534. It took 70 years to complete-
Inside is beyond belief! The altar-
There were so many statues in the altar and the ceiling was a blue dome. The architecture is Baroque-
After my own walking tour, I went on a free walking tour with a guide who was super passionate about Quito. Our first stop was the food market where they sell many fruit that are available year round-
Granadillas look like oranges but the seeds inside taste like passion fruit, kind of slimy-
The guanabana comes in a large round shell, like a coconut but inside are separate chunks. The flavor is really nice but there is a seed in each part. It's used a lot for juicing-
The tomate de arbol sort of tastes like a peach. You squeeze the orange part out of the skin-
I bought a couple of scarves from this woman-
Eggs are usually bought a few at a time and carried away in a plastic bag.
I love the artwork around these doors-
Tomorrow, I'm looking forward to going up the Telefonico to Cruz Loma for a great view of the city.