Iglesia La Merced


This 18th-century church boasts the highest tower in colonial Quito and a wealth of fascinating art, including paintings that show volcanoes erupting over the church roofs of the city and the capital covered with ashes.

Legend says that the tower, the only unblessed part of the church, is possessed by the devil. Supposedly the only person strong enough to resist the devil was a bell-ringer named Ceferino, and no one has dared enter the tower since he died in 1810.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Quito attractions

1. Museo de Arte Colonial

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2. Museo Alberto Mena Caamaño

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3. Palacio de Gobierno

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4. Centro Cultural Metropolitano

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5. Museo Franciscano

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To the right of the Iglesia de San Francisco’s main entrance, and within the Convent of St Francis, this museum contains some of the church’s finest…

6. Palacio Arzobispal

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On the northeast side of Plaza Grande, this former archbishop’s palace is now a colonnaded row of small shops and restaurants, located between Avenidas…

7. Plaza Grande

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While wandering around colonial Quito, you'll probably pass through the Plaza Grande several times. Its benches are great for soaking up the Andean…

8. Capilla de Cantuña

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The Cantuña Chapel houses a small art collection from the Quito School. It’s shrouded in one of Quito’s most famous legends, that of the indigenous…