Historic Center, Quito
Quito claims to have the largest and best preserved historic center in the Americas. Among the prized collection of buildings are dozens of churches, convents, monasteries, along with plazas, and many converted structures which now serve as museums and other public buildings.The historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Some of the highlights include the La Compania de Jesus Church, San Francisco Church, and the Plaza Grande.
La Compania de Jesus Church
The Jesuit built church of La Compania de Jesus is perhaps the most important historical building in Quito. Constructed in the early 17th Century, although not completed for over 150 years, the church is listed as one of the top 100 most important buildings in the world according to UNESCO.The interior is full of fine detail and incredible works of art. La Compania de Jesus is impressive from the outside but visitors should definitely take the time to see the interior.
The Plaza Grande in Quito's historic center is a wonderful place to enjoy some time sitting on a bench and watching life go by. The square is surrounded by the Cathedral, the Presidential Palace, the Archbishop's Palace and the Municipal Palace.The Monument of the Heroes stands in the square, while a few trees offer some shade and some gardens add to the atmosphere.
The Cathedral of Quito stands on the Plaza Grande in the historic city center. This somewhat modest looking church is the oldest cathedral in Quito and perhaps all of South America. It was constructed in the 1560s with various features added over the years leading to a variety of architectural styles. Visitors can see works of art on the walls from the Quito School of Art.
One of the tourist highlights in Quitois La Ronda, a street in the historic centre. The street's real name is Calle Morales and it was once the city's red light district. Today you will find this beautiful street lined with restaurants, cafés, artists shops, and other entertainment.
The white Presidential Palace stands on the Plaza Grande.The balcony on the second level which looks over the square is supported by a row of pillars. Visitors can take a partial tour of the palace to see some of the art work that adorns the walls.