architecture, Colonial History, Ecuador, Quito, South America, Sudamerica, travel, Uncategorized

Things looking up ~ ~ ~ Spires, Domes & Rooftops of San Francisco de Quito, Ecuador

dsc00809These are mostly pictures of the rooftops of the old city of Quito, the capitol of Ecuador.

They include shots of the oldest church, which dates back to the 1530’s, and many were taken from the balcony of the Presidential Palace.

Quito is a treasure trove of historic buildings, and home to some incredible rooftops. In this post, rather than my usual groundling-level photos of old buildings, try to visualize yourself as the rooster in the first photo below, standing up top, getting a great view and new perspectives.

(But perhaps not being quite as noisy in the morning.)



A Bird’s-Eye View








Poster for the local branch of “Cloud Watchers”










At street level, there are down-to-earth shops, and churches, government buildings, and museums – imposing masses of stone, solemn and solid.  But up on the rooftops… the domes, spires, and cupolas compose an exotic village all its own, up among the clouds, populated by ivory-white and silvery figures.





In the background is a hill called “El Panecillo” (Bread Loaf Hill) The statue in the distance, of the Virgin Mary, is a 134 foot aluminum version of a wooden original, created in 1734 by a local artist.  It is unusual in that Mary is shown with wings, based on a description in the Book of Revelations.




Statue on top of the monument in Independence Plaza, brandishing a torch and fasces.  The latter, a Roman symbol of authority and strength-through-unity, was a popular symbol for democratic republics, including the U.S., before being tarnished by it’s later association with Mussolini and Hitler.  It was used on the so-called “Mercury” dime and you’ll see it on old buildings all over our Capitol.  Perhaps we’ll see more of it around Washington in the future.










On The Sunny Side Of The Street, with Security Cam





La Iglesia de la Compañía de Jesús. The Jesuit church, begun in 1605 and completed 160 years later. A fantastically ornate combination of Baroque, Neoclassical, Moorish, and even some indigenous notes.









I cannot look at this tower without thinking the saint on top is Jacques Cousteau entering a “diving bell”
















5 thoughts on “Things looking up ~ ~ ~ Spires, Domes & Rooftops of San Francisco de Quito, Ecuador

  1. Jan theobald says:

    This is a very interesting perspective on a city. The rooftops are wonderful! It’s too bad that we don’t pay such attention to rooftops now? It gives the city of flavor all it’s own. I love the detail.

  2. This is a wonderful collection. I like your processing as well as the way you’ve framed the spires, statues, and so on. I’m not sure whether it was processing that helped to highlight the gold on the statue with the torch and fasces, but it’s very effective.

    Personally, I always like a white building of any sort against the sky. Even a cloudy sky will do, as you’ve shown here. The details are so interesting. I’m glad you pointed out the winged Mary. I never would have imagined it was her — I’ve never heard of such a thing. I didn’t even know there was a reference in Revelation that would have led someone to portray her that way. Live and learn.

    (This is my second attempt at a comment. If you come across another one roaming around, feel free to delete it.)

    • Thank you, Linda, I appreciate the compliment. Maybe because I come from a small town, with only one interesting building in it, and nothing very tall, I get a huge kick out of all the church towers, steeples, and fancy roofs.
      The winged Mary is best viewed from a distance – up close, the obvious seams between the metal plates give it kind of a weird, unpleasant effect, like a scary Tin Man.

  3. The rooftops are stunning to look at. Incidentally, I was interested to read the note mentioning Bread Loaf Hill. I know there’s also a Sugarloaf Mountain in Rio. If I could just find out where they have Chocolate Iced Doughnut Peak, I might retire there.

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