Catedral Metropolitana

Cathedral in Quito

Image by John Elk III Getty Images

On Plaza Grande's southwest side stands Quito's cathedral. Although not the most ornate of the Old Town’s churches, it has some fascinating works by artists from the Quito School and houses the tomb of independence hero Antonio José de Sucre. Behind the main altar is a plaque marking where President Gabriel García Moreno died on August 6, 1875; after being slashed with a machete outside the Palacio del Gobierno, he was carried, dying, to the cathedral.

Don’t miss the painting of the Last Supper, with Christ and disciples feasting on cuy (guinea pig), and a nativity painting that features a llama and a horse peering over the newborn Jesus. Admission includes a free guided tour in Spanish and entry to the small cathedral museum. For an extra $3 you can climb up a narrow spiral staircase and onto the cathedral's domed roof; the views are impressive but there is some clambering along narrow ledges involved.