In a very real sense, the history of Ecuador possesses a vast architectural heritage. Particularly the historic centers of Quito and Cuenca still maintain the colonial homes, churches and buildings. Quito has the highest concentration of pre-modern architecture of all of South America, which was declared by Unesco in 1978 as the First Cultural Patrimony of Humanity. Later on in 2000 this same honor was awarded to the city of Cuenca. All of this drives the country to be recognised internationally as a touristic destination. Additionally existing are impressive architectural monuments, which are worthy of being visited.
The first artistic manifestation that reached the New World started with the construction of the Conquistadors’ homes, made the European way with brick, adobe, stone, wood and tile. Later on the religious architecture appeared, with convents constructed by Iberian architects with anonymous contribution from the indigenous people.
In the XVI century the Church of the Veracruz or Belén was constructed; in the XVII century the Merced, Arco de Santo Domingo, San Francisco, San Diego and San Agustín temples were built. What stands out the most about these temples to local and visitors alike are their beautiful fachadas (fronts), like stone jewels of a classic style, with Ionian, Dorian and Corinthian columns. Prevailing in these is the Baroque style.
The Historic Center of Quito is the largest in America. It hosts churches, chapels, monasteries and colonial convents, squares, museums and charming indoor patios, republican buildings and interesting architecture from the beginning of the XX century, as well as notable contemporary works which make this a place of enormous historic, architectural and esthetic value.
Quito itself is a grand sight. It is at a height of 2,800 meters above sea-level. Not just that, but its natural geography seems to have been designed so that the city could be admired from any vantage point. And if this wasn’t enough, its architecture also is just as strategic to ensure to never take away one’s gaze from this rather flirtatious capital.