| SANTO DOMINGO SQUARE
La Ronda Hostal is located 200 metres away from the Santo Domingo church.
friar Pedro Bedón, considered the founder of the Quito Schoool
painting tradition, made several paintings and sculptures for the
church and convent, such as the San Nicolás de Tolentino oil painting
or the Beato Reginaldo relief, on which he is receiving the dominico
scapulary from the hands of the Virgen, with a beautiful polychrome in
Also from these time, Diego de Robles, born in Toledo (Spain), creator of the Virgen recreations of Guápulo and Quinche, the most venerated, also sculped the reliefs of San Pío V and San Antonio de Florencia, which can be admired at the Dominican Museum today along with other works.
Later on, the domenican treasure was enriched by other works that can be found at the museum located north of the lower Cloister. It shows great works by Quito school sculptors like the Santo Domingo de Guzmán by Father Carlos, the San Juan de Dios by Caspicara, the Santo Tomás de Aquino by Legarda.
Other wood carvings at the church, chapels and convent remind us of the deeply rooted traditions in Quito. One good example is the beautiful nativity scene by Caspicara, with baby Jesus laying down asleep, the Virgen and Joseph looking over him, also the Virgen de la Leche, a mestizo virgen or the Virgen de la Aurora, who is often taken out during preocessions called Rosario de la Aurora. The convent has a clauster with a beautiful ground floor that shows octogonal pilars and archs around a nice garden.
PLAZA GRANDE - GOVERNMENT PALACE
La Ronda Hostal is only 5 blocks away from the la PLAZA GRANDE – PALACIO DE GOBIERNO
The beautiful Independence Square, at the heart of the historic center, is surrounded by four pillars of Quito's society: the Cathedral, the Presidential Palace, the Archbishop's Palace and the Town Hall. Under the Pichincha volcano and the blue Andean sky, the Plaza protects the city's secrets and legends, its politic traditions and hidden treaties: a witness of the history of Quito.
At the beginning of the 20th century, the monument to the Heroes of Independence was placed on the square's center, a symbol of the Republic's victory over Spanish rule.
The Plaza is a great place to witness the color, humor and drama of the Quiteños' everyday life. There you can find the elderly (often gossiping or complaining) on the benches, shoe shiners running around their clients, men looking through the newspapers' headlines, proud moms pushing their strollers around, street sellers showing their products, indigenous moms with theis guaguas (babies) wrapped around their backs, cars breaking and honking, women knitting, old fashioned instant photographers, foreigners walking, police officers looking around (or sending text messages on their cell phones), or guards looking at their reflection in their shiny boots.
SAN FRANCISCO CHURCH
La Ronda Hostal is located 5 blocks away from the SAN FRANCISCO CHURCH.
The church was built
by Francisco Cantuña. According to the indigenous legend, he made a pact with the devil, agreeing to give his soul away if
he helped him finish building the church on time. The devil, anxious
to receive Cantuña's soul, helped him finish the enormous construction
with an army of demons. Once finished, the devil demanded Cantuña to
give him his soul. Cantuña replied that a complete inspection of the
devil's work was needed. When he found that one stone was missing, and
the work was therefore incomplete, Cantuña was allowed to keep his
On top of the main shrine, the famous Bernardo de Legarda placed the winged Virgen of Quito, cover by a spectacular barroque stylied carved dome. Several excavations at the San Francisco church have uncovered many artefacts dating back to the colonial times and previously to the indigenous period. The findings include pre-Inca pottery. Some theorize that the church was built over the palace of Huayna Capac, the Inca emperor.
LA COMPAÑÍA DE JESÚS CHURCH
La Ronda Hostal is located 4 blocks away from the LA COMPAÑÍA DE
The Compañía de Jesús is an enchanting church. It is considered as the most important colonial and religious building of Quito's historic center. Built by the Jesuit Order in 1605, the church took about 163 years to be completed, and that happened barely 2 years before the Jesuits were expelled by the Spanish Crown. Abandoned until 1807, the church was then trusted to the frailes de Camilo until it was finally given back to the Jesuits in 1860, by the president of that period.
In 1868, an earth quake destroyed the church's tower and another one in 1987 partially damaged the whole structure which is now undergoing two intense restauration projects. A terrible fire in 1996 affected several sections of the restauration work. Finally, the church was officially opened to the public again in 2006. Its barroque facade is a work of art with columns, hearts and cherubs carved on volcanic stones from the Andes. The splendor one finds when walking into the church is something hard to forget: a spectacular 7 ton work of gold-covered carved panels on every inch if its interior. The Moor influence is evident on the ceiling's ornamentation, the domes and the carvings on the red and golden pillars. The Holy Trinity on the main shrine and the sculptures of San Francisco and San Ignacio, on the lateral shrines, were made by the famous Bernardo de Legarda.
THE CITY MUSEUM
La Ronda Hostal is located 2 blocks away from the Museo de la Ciudad.
The City Museum is placed within the oldest colonial building in town, at the heart of the historic center. It was founded in 1565 by decree of the King of Spain as the Misericordia de Nuestro Señor Jesucristo Hospital. During the XIX century it was named San Juan de Dios Hospital, and has retained that name until today.
The building of hospitals in the newly founded Spanish cities in America was a result of the medieval Christian mentality which place great importance on its values of the welfare of the people and solidarity with people in need. The hospitales, a word derived from "hospitalidad" completes the functions in the Spanish society. Besides the hospitals there were authentic charity houses which gave a pleasant home for the orphans.
From the walls of this old hospital, the Museo de la Ciudad pays tribute to all those unknown men and women who have continue to enlarge the city with their work, joy, passion and pain through the centuries, and the diverse expressions of identity which they represent. That is the reason why the Museum presents Quito's everyday life, through which the different identities of its inhabitants can be rescued and restored.
The City Museum has been able to approach the history of Quito from the perspective of its unknown citizens, making it different from other museums which focus more on art and archaeology from the point of view of great historic figures and events. This approach allows to undestand the mentalily and imagination of a diverse and complex city, inhabited by different communities in which the past gives a testimony of the present of future from a socio-economic perspective.
During a visit to the Museum it's possible to realize that its patrimony consist not only of an ensamble of works of art and everyday objects but of intangible manifestations which underlay the urban culture: the intimacy, anecdotes, legends and traditions, clothes, social rules and prohibitions, jobs and celebrations. Through the constant change of the exhibits and thanks to a policy of community inclusion in its activities and goals, the Museum wants to become an active participant of contemporary Quito.
Thus, the Museo de la Ciudad provides the citizens with a place of dynamic integration and social interaction, an alternate learning site where diversity is a contributing factor and in which culture is offered every day as an alternative of development. Within the hundred-years-old walls of this former hospital, the Musuem restores the previous use for the service and solidarity to the community for which the building was originaly created.
The Pre-hispanic section. Quito was the comercial center of the region and a meeting point of ideas, cultures and products. There, the merchants could exchange goods of very diverse origins, languages and religious beliefs. With time, the ethnic rule and power as well as population concentration took place. During the decades prior Spanish arrival, Quito was an important comencial and defense complex for the Inca domination. Its constructions were the base on which the Spanish town and society was built.
Address: García Moreno 572 and Rocafuerte. Quito, Pichincha - Ecuador.
Opening times: Tuesdays to Saturdays from 09h30 to 17h30.