WALK THE HISTORIC CENTER – ROUTE 1
Discover the street of the Seven Crosses, located in each of the seven churches along this road. The Plaza Grande and its daily life, along with the places to visit in its limits, it can take a whole day, or at least a whole morning, the route ends with other unmissable: El Sagrario, La Compañía, San Francisco and La Merced.
The starting point in the center of the colonial helmet: La Plaza Grande or Plaza de la Independencia. It is the most important meeting point of the city, the place where everything converges. Discover the street sellers, the espumilla, the typical costumes of the cultural diversity that inhabits the place, public functions, activists with loudspeakers, and much more, all under the intermittent shade of heritage trees. Visit the Presidential Palace, or Carondelet Palace, which opened its doors to the public in 2009. Freshen yourself with the traditional rosero quiteño, a peculiar soft drink with fruits, rose water and corn, in the historic Café Plaza Grande. In the atrium of the Cathedral, look for the classic sandwiches of pernil, ideal for mid-morning. At lunch we recommend Hasta La Vuelta Señor, in the Archbishop’s Palace, in front of the atrium.
All the tourist information is in El Quinde Visitor’s Center (in front of the plaza, on the Venezuela and Espejo corner) Visit Ecuador Gourmet Gallery with its display of the excellent Pacari chocolates (diagonal to Quinde). Plaza, the Metropolitan Cultural Center is another important site to visit.
Behind the Cathedral (west side), the doors of the Church of the Tabernacle open. Note the fabulous inner door of Bernardo de Legarda, one of the most important artisans-sculptors of colonial Quito, do not stop looking at the ferocious lions of the outer gate. Continue down the same street, García Moreno, at the end of the block, stands one of the most important Jesuit creations in the world and the most spectacular colonial relic of Quito: the Church of La Compañía.
The Street of the Seven Crosses – or García Moreno, has seven crosses of volcanic stone that adorn each church. Some have fun looking for them, starting from the north by the cross of the Church of Santa Bárbara (García Moreno and Manabí), at the foot of San Juan.
At the corner of Sucre and García Moreno, admire the facade of the old Central Bank building, today a Numismatic Museum where you can discover the old Ecuadorian currency, the “Sucre”, now replaced by the American Dollar. If you continue south, the next stop is the María Augusta Urrutia House-Museum, an early 20th-century antique receptacle owned by a well-known Quito benefactress of the time. Turn around Sucre Street towards the Plaza and San Francisco church, the largest religious institution in Quito, is practically the icon of the city. Explore the Pedro Gocial Museum inside.
Then take Cuenca street to the north, go through the costumes, shoes and dresses to the La Merced Church, which was the effigy of La Merced Virgen, patron saint of the military and savior of the threat of earthquakes and volcanoes on the city, which in 1544, was inserted into the Pichincha volcano crater to appease a fearsome eruption. Continue on Chile Street, descend to Plaza Grande, or walk one block north to the Colonial Art Museum at the corner of Mejía and Cuenca streets.