El Sagrario

Top choice in Cuenca

Standing across the park from the new cathedral, the whitewashed El Sagrario is also known as the 'old cathedral.' Construction began in 1557, the year Cuenca was founded, and in 1739 La Condamine’s expedition used its towers as a triangulation point to measure the shape of the earth. It's been deconsecrated and serves as a religious museum and recital hall.

Wander out back to the courtyard for a look at some fascinating historical photographs of colonial Cuenca life.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Cuenca attractions

1. Parque Calderón

0.05 MILES

A central meeting point and generally lovely place to relax, Parque Calderón is the central park of Cuenca.

2. Catedral de la Inmaculada Concepción

0.09 MILES

Also known as the ‘new cathedral,’ construction began on this vast cathedral only in 1885. Its giant domes of sky-blue Czech tile are visible from all…

3. Museo de la Ciudad

0.13 MILES

Housed in the former Escuela Central la Inmaculada, this beautifully preserved colonial building has been revamped with sleek, contemporary lines to house…

4. Church of El Carmen de la Asunción

0.13 MILES

The stark, white church just around the corner from Plaza de San Francisco was founded in 1682 and contrasts beautifully with the colorful flower market…

5. Museo del Monasterio de las Conceptas

0.16 MILES

This religious museum in the Convent of the Immaculate Conception, founded in 1599, offers a glimpse into the centuries-old customs of the cloistered nuns…

6. Church of San Francisco

0.18 MILES

Resplendently colonial, yet curiously ramshackle, plaza San Francisco's set-piece is the 19th-century Church of San Francisco, which features an…

7. Church of Santo Domingo

0.22 MILES

This church, two blocks northwest of Parque Calderón, sports some fine carved wooden doors and colonial paintings. Although it looks older, the church was…

8. Church of San Cenáculo


Two blocks east of Plaza de San Sebastián, this bare 19th-century church is worth a quick look if you happen to be passing by.