Street of the 7 crosses in Quito


In the García Moreno street from south to north you can see at one end the Panecillo formerly known as the temple of the sun – Yavirac, and on the other side, the neighborhood of San Juan formerly known as the temple of the moon – Quilla. You can visit the following crosses located in the atriums of the churches of the historic center of Quito:

First cross: San lázaro Psychiatric Hospital

On March 15, 1785, the “Hospice Jesus, Mary and Joseph” was founded in response to the problem of the contradiction of social classes, a problem that was the product of the great economic instability of the time that caused more than half of the population It is made up of homeless people, homeless people, beggars, beggars and orphans who roamed the streets of the Royal Audience.

In 1786, in a joint space at the Hospice in the Historic Center of Quito, the “San Lázaro Hospital” was founded. The hospice as a whole fulfilled multiple functions such as: orphanage, leprosarium and asylum.

Since its foundation, several attempts have been made to change its structure and system of coercive and custodial psychiatric care, without satisfactory results. Only in June 2012, is when it is transformed towards patient care with greater respect for its humanity, including community, decentralized, participatory, preventive and comprehensive assistance.

Second cross: Queen’s Arch

Located on García Moreno and Rocafuerte streets, in front of the City Museum, on the “Calle de las Siete Cruces”, is the current Carmen Alto Monastery, which is a religious icon of greater importance for the inhabitants of Quito, This house, before being a monastery, lived and died Santa Mariana de Jesús (1618-1645), and of which the famous Queen’s Arch is part.

Since 2013 a museum has been opened in the monastery, located in the two oldest cloisters, where you can see the material and intangible heritage preserved by the Carmelites for more than 360 years, in a modern exhibition that presents works by Religious art of anonymous and renowned artists of the city.

Third cross: church of the company

Its construction begins in 1605 and ends in 1765; its main artistic style is the Baroque that is characterized by excessive decoration in altarpieces, presence of Solomonic columns and the use of gold leaf throughout the temple, followed by, the Churrigueresco style, which is a Baroque style support. And finally the Neoclassical style to be sober and elegant.

The architectural plan of the temple is characterized by the shape of a Latin cross. It also has an organ which is described as the best preserved in the city of Quito.

Another attraction of the temple are, the painting of the Last Judgment and the painting of Hell, both belonging to the nineteenth century and made with the technique of painting on canvas.

Fourth cross: Church of the Tabernacle

Its construction was sponsored, supervised and decorated by the Brotherhood of the Blessed Sacrament, beginning construction in 1695, this temple maintains an Italian Renaissance style, with an architectural plan in the shape of a Latin cross inscribed in a large rectangle, this plan is unique among the churches of the city, similar to the cruciform type of the first Asturian churches. The structural decoration of the facade is designed to inform the viewer about the function and patronage of the church.

Around it we can find other attractions such as the Metropolitan Cultural Center which houses the Alberto Mena Caamaño Museum and its collection of works of colonial and contemporary art; to the Federico González Suárez Library, with more than 50,000 volumes, and to the Luciano Andrade Marín Old Fund, which houses 8,200 books, which, due to their content, age and physical characteristics, are considered part of the Ecuadorian Documentary Heritage.

Fifth cross: Cathedral Church

In 1562, the Archdian Pedro Rodríguez de Aguayo, built the “Cathedral” church from the foundations until it concluded with the tower. He directed the work to raise the semi-ogival walls and arches of the temple, based on a fragmented rectangle in three naves.

On the facade it is possible to highlight the commemorative plaques that were placed along the atrium, in one the following is indicated: “It is the glory of Quito the discovery of the great Amazon River”. In five of them, they verify the names of the founders of the city of Quito. Another reads: “Quito World Heritage Site”. And finally, in a small plaque it is reported: “Cathedral, 16th century, erected as Main Church (1545-1572); reformed in the XVII-XVIII and XX centuries”. Inside the temple stands the Mausoleum of Marshal Antonio José De Sucre and around it fresco paintings from the early twentieth century, which represent:

  • The day, freedom.
  • The night, slavery.
  • The battle of Pichincha.
  • The Battle of Ayacucho

Sixth cross: Church of the Immaculate Conception

The monastery of the Immaculate Conception is located on Garcia Moreno and Chile in the historic center of Quito. It is considered the oldest in the Ecuadorian capital.

Around it we could see the shopping center that has several luxury restaurants and specialties, as well as several stores that offer different services such as internet, clothing, handicrafts, among others.

Seventh cross: Church of Santa Barbara

The church of Santa Bárbara is located in García Moreno and Manabí, in the historic center of Quito. The earthquakes of 1987 caused damage to the structure and its reconstruction was executed by the Rescue Fund.

The church of Santa Bárbara in the Historic Center of Quito was built by Don Juan Pablo Sanz in the 16th century and the Jesuits lived there from August 1586 to January 1589. It is a modern church that conserves few antiques: some fabrics and some Statues of various saints.

The building is of simple cut with a Greek-style cross plan and in the middle it supports a slender dome made of iron framework lined in zinc on the outside, and inside it has finely decorated wooden boxes. The altarpiece of the altar consecrates the Virgin of Quinche and the Heart of Jesus, one to Calvary, another to San Antonio and two to San José and San Judas Tadeo.

Among the few works of art is the painting of the Virgen de la Espiga and a bust of San Francisco de Borja sculpted in wood next to a tombstone located on the first step of the entrance to the parish house, which has engraved a dedication in Latin to the aforementioned saint dated 1942.

Marcel Perkins is CEO at Latin Trails. Latin Trails is an incoming destination management company specialized in bespoke tours, with a focus on offering unique experiences throughout Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands, and Peru.

If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us.


Comments (4)

  1. Scott says:

    This is a nice daily reminder of the architecture that’s really brought to life when you get to travel. I didn’t know much about these churches but it’s something I’ll keep in mind when thinking about visiting South America.

  2. Elizabeth Knowling says:

    Far too often we walk along a street or through a town with our eyes half open, frequently oblivious to what is going around us.

    This is a fascinating piece of research showing how much you can learn about a place and it’s past when you take the time and the trouble to dig deep.

  3. Cindy says:

    I’ve never been to Quito but it seems to
    me that spending your first day walking along the Street of the Seven Crosses would be an ideal familiarisation beginning. It’s absolutely fantastic that you’ve got such a depth of history along one street. That’s the way I like to do my travel, going slowly and drinking it all in.

  4. Nicola Clarke says:

    I’ve heard of the ‘The Street of Seven Crosses’ before (perhaps as a tour, I can’t recall). It’s interesting to learn more about each of them though. Some fascinating architecture here, like with the mixture of styles with the Church of Company. I especially like the Cathedral Church. What’s equally important are the gems inside some of these, like organs and artwork. So much history.

Leave a reply



Your actual name, not your online persona, website name, company name or keywords, otherwise your comment won't be published





Please do not advertise and make sure your comment adds value, otherwise we regret that it won't be published. Comments such as "Nice post. Thanks for sharing." do NOT add value to the discussion! Homepage links (not deep links) are allowed in the 'Website' field only - if you would like to advertise, please contact us for details and we will be happy to help.

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a Gravatar.

Our readers also enjoyed these posts…