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Basilica del Voto Nacional - Quito, Ecuador

Updated on June 19, 2011

Among the many sites to see in Quito, Ecuador the most abundant are the Churches of Quito. It is said that there are at least 86 churches in the city. Each with its own unique architectural style, alure and history. One of the more facinating being the Basilica del Voto Nacional.

Also known as "La Basilica," "Catedral Consagración de Jesús" or "The Basílica de San Juan,” it is the largest of the neo-gothic basilicas in the Americas.

Basilica del Voto Nacional
Basilica del Voto Nacional | Source
Baslica del Voto Nacional.  Armadillos that look like they are praying.
Baslica del Voto Nacional. Armadillos that look like they are praying.

The Condor Tower: Basílica del Voto Nacional

The Clock Towers: Basílica del Voto Nacional

Basílica del Voto Nacional

The Basilica del Voto Nacional is a must see while visiting Quito.

Inspired by father Julio Matovelle and designed by French architect Emilio Tarlier the basilica was constructed in rememberance of the consecration of Ecuador to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The original architectural inpiration for the basílica came from the Bourges Catedral in France though you will hear it compared in similarity to both San Patricio Cathedral in New York and Notre Dame in Paris.

The construction began on July 10, 1892 for the Basílica del Voto Nacional (Basilica of the National Vow). The major construction took place between 1892 through 1909 and as local legend has it, this Roman Catholic Church is still incomplete. The residents believe that the day this church is completed is the day the world will end. Although incomplete it still received an inauguration by pope John Paul II in 1985.

Far from the urban apocalyptic legend the intrigue of this church comes from its neo-gothic architectural style and art display. This particular Gothic style of including gargoyles or grotesque, as some call them, differentiates from the traditional monstrous apotropaic statues usually seen ledged upon a façade. Instead, armadillos, turtles, birds and iguanas depicting the country's inhabiting creatures are posed in a humble state. These animal's welcome stance seem to invite in the passerby rather than ward off evil.

Inside the Basilica the stained glass windows are the first grand notable feature. Stained glass designs from floral to Biblical scenes with Latin inscriptions display a dance of color and light that draw the eye upward in awe. Then walk down the sanctuary and you will notice that each area of space is used to capture an artistic thought of marvelous proportion. You will gaze on 14 Bronze statues lining the sanctuary, 11 are of apostils and 3 are evangelists. Art work by Bernardo Rodriguez and Manuel Samaniego adorn the walls with each painting hanging in one of the several decorative nooks of the church. Then when you feel as if your senses seem to be overcome with the tremendous amount of visual stimulation it is time to take a climb up one of the 3 towers to view the city. The Condor Tower is the highest viewpoint in the Basilica. It is said that the tower is at the minimal height that a condor can take flight therefore naming it “The Condor Tower.” The Bell Tower and The Clock Tower are the more traveled towers. In addition to the breathtaking views is the opportunity to ring the tower bell and make a wish.

Expect to spend several hours strolling around the church and grounds taking in each detail carefully displayed for visitors.

Tour Info:

Tours are $2 (USD) and hours are Daily 9am – 5pm. The Church is located between Carchi and Venezuela streets, eight blocks from the Plaza Grande.

More Ecuador Travel Tips

What’s it like to live in Ecuador. Read what it’s like to be a foreigner living in Ecuador and what to bring if you decide to visit Ecuador.

Find out what you may not know about Ecuador. Did you know that their currency is the US Dollar?

More fun and interesting places to visit in Ecuador.


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      Johna557 3 years ago

      Hello! Do you use Twitter? I'd like to follow you if that would be okay. I'm undoubtedly enjoying your blog and look forward to new posts. kkeedggeddfc

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      Johnb880 3 years ago

      As a Newbie, I am continuously searching online for articles that can aid me. Thank you bddgbkbkcfdk

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      Fernando Rosero 6 years ago

      Very interesting article!!

    • amwalsh profile image

      amwalsh 6 years ago from Georgia

      hi rorshak, It really is a very interesting place to visit. Ecuador is very diverse in landscape, culture etc...

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      rorshak sobchak 6 years ago

      This looks like a great place to visit. I want to check it out someday. Great Hub. Keep up the great work.