"Catedral Primada" Quito Things to Do Tip by travelmad478

Quito Things to Do: 454 reviews and 1,200 photos

South America's first cathedral, the Primada was built between 1550-1562. It's been the site of quite a few interesting events, not the least of which was the 1875 assasination of Gabriel Garcia Moreno, Ecuador's first president--stabbed to death by one of his own guards. His tomb is in the church, next to that of his successor, Juan Jose Flores, and around the corner from that of Ecuadorian war hero Antonio Jose de Sucre.

Architecturally, the Catedral Primada is an intriguing mixture of 16th-century Spanish design overlaid with the influence of the local native artists and craftsmen who created much of the artwork. Gorgeous decorative art, such as the hammered-relief silver doors of the rear chapel, are juxtaposed with marble sculptures and huge paintings containing both Catholic and indigenous symbolism and representation. The ceiling is beautifully constructed of wood, rebuilt after a 1797 earthquake that destroyed much of the church's interior.

It costs just one dollar to enter this cathedral, and if you are as lucky as we were, you will be approached by one of the guides to receive a free tour of the whole building. The tours, offered in both English and Spanish, are fantastic--I highly recommend taking the time for one. Our guide was an architecture student who was extremely well-informed about his subject. We couldn't quite believe that we were getting all that knowledge for nothing!

Review Helpfulness: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Jan 31, 2004
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