sights / Religious

Churches information

Cuenca , Ecuador
near Plaza de San Sebastián
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Two blocks east of Plaza de San Sebastián stands the bare, 19th-century Church of San Cenáculo (cnr Bolívar & Montalvo). One block north of the church is Gran Colombia, the main handicraft and shopping street in Cuenca. The street's landmark building is the Church of Santo Domingo (cnr Gran Colombia & Padre Aguirre), which has some fine carved wooden doors and colonial paintings inside. Although it looks older, the church was built in the early 20th-century.

Although its doors are rarely open to the public, the Church of El Carmen de la Asunción (Mariscal Sucre near Padre Aguirre), founded in 1682, is one of Cuenca's prettiest sights, thanks to the colorful flower market (;daily) held on the small Plazoleta del Carmen out front. A few paces south along Padre Aguirre brings you to the 19th-century Church of San Francisco, which towers handsomely above the not-so-handsome (but still very interesting) Plaza de San Francisco. The plaza is flanked by old arcaded buildings with wooden balconies and is crowded with a permanent ramshackle street market.

On the western side of the historical center, the Church of San Blas, on the plaza of the same name, was once the western boundary of colonial Cuenca. Originally built in the late 16th-century, the small colonial church has since been replaced by an early 20th-century building. The modern church is one of the city's largest and is the only one in Cuenca built in the form of a Latin cross.