LA COMPAÑÍA CHURCH
Monday to Friday from 09:30 to 13:00 – 14:00 to 18:00, Saturdays from 09:00 to 16:30 and on Sundays from 1:00 to 4:30.
+593 2 2581 895
García Moreno and Sucre
Foreign Adult and Senior Citizens USD 4.00. Foreign Student 2.00 USD National Adult 2.00 USD. National University 1.00 USD. Secondary National 0.50 USD. Children under 11 years old, 3rd age, nationals and disabled: free income. First Sunday of the month free admission
A knockout on every level, an architectural gem excessively smothered in gold-leaf (7 tons of it!), La Compañía is one of Latin America’s most precious architectural creations
La Compañía is a knockout on every level, an architectural gem excessively smothered in gold-leaf (7 tons of it!) with glorious shafts of light penetrating the interior from divinely-measured skylights (God’s face is illuminated by the sun during the equinox!). Its beauty at first sight is enough to marvel anyone, but, as all things Baroque go, greatness lies in the details.
La Compañía de Jesús is dazzling. It’s considered the most important religious colonial building left by the Spanish in Quito. Constructed by the Jesuits in 1605, the church took some 163 years to build and was finished just two years before the Jesuit order was expelled by the Spanish crown.
Its extraordinary Baroque facade is a lacework on stone; twisted columns, sacred hearts and cherubs carved in Andean volcanic rock. Fine Moorish embellishments, gripping iconography, symbolism at every level in portraits, wood carvings and its almost didactic Baroque sense of symmetry (most eloquently evidenced by the fake staircase mirroring its real counterpart, as seen from the altar looking back to the entrance) come together for this one-and-only Colonial art-and-décor tour de force. It’s wise to sit on one of the benches and let it all settle.
Miracle of miracles
In 1868, an earthquake destroyed the beautiful church tower, the tallest in Quito. Another earthquake in 1987 partially destroyed the church resulting in an intense program of restoration. An unfortunate fire in 1996 affected several more sections, which set the works back further. And yet, miracle of miracles, it was finally re-opened officially to the public in 2006, in all its splendor, as if nothing had happened (although the restorators who made that possible might want to take some of the credit).