Iglesia de la Compania de Jesus, Quito
Quito is a historical center, developed in the valley of the high mountains of the Andes. It is about 40 km (24.85 miles) long and 5 km (3.1 miles) at its widest. With its Spanish colonial architecture Quito is a jewel. It’s a city with amazing churches, palaces and a history rich of past civilization.
La Compañia, short for Iglesia de la Compañia de Jesus, is the heart for the new “Viceprovincia de Nuevo Reino y Quito” with its construction that started in the year 1605.
(from Wiki): ” Styled in Latin American Baroque, it took Jesuit priests 160 years to finish construction. Design elements include a near symmetrical façade, Moorish influence in the nave, and artwork by artists of the Quito School of Art. The bell tower was the tallest structure in colonial Quito, but was toppled by two earthquakes in 1859 & 1868. In the past twenty-years, the church has gone under heavy restoration, especially after a fire damaged the interior nave.
The remains of Ecuador’s patron saint, Mariana de Jesus, are in a sarcophagus that is part of the main altar.”
(from Frommers): “This Jesuit church is one of the great baroque masterpieces in South America. All the work took 160 years to complete (1605-1765). The facade won’t fail to impress you — the carvings are unbelievably detailed. Notice the Solomonic columns, which are symbolic of the Catholic doctrine that life’s journey starts at the bottom (on earth), but by following the holy path, it ends at heaven.
Almost every inch of the interior has intricate decorations. When you enter La Compañía, look for the symbols of the sun in both the main door to the church and the ceiling. The sun was a very important Inca symbol, and the Spanish thought that if they decorated the entryway with indigenous symbols, it might encourage local people to join the church. The walls and ceilings of La Compañía are typical of Moorish design — you will only see geometric shapes but no human forms. The building has been under renovation for the past several years, and some of the gold leaf on the ceiling and walls has been restored to its original luster. Natural sunlight and candlelight really bring out an angelic brilliance.”
The interior is said to have taken seven tons of gold.
(Photos by: Houry Photography)