Quito, a journey through art and history
Three eras of art, culture and symbols, full day, daily except Monday, includes lunch
The programme explores three eras in the country’s history: pre-Colombian, colonial and contemporary, visiting three iconic sights: Casa del Alabado museum, the church of La Compañía de Jesús, and La Capilla del Hombre (Chapel of Man), a striking modern structure housing the works of Ecuador’s most celebrated painter, Oswaldo Guayasamín.
Day by day itinerary
This excursion takes guests on a journey along the evolution of the cultural and historic processes of the city of Quito – a unique city and UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site- that boasts the largest and least-altered Old Town in Latin America. Millions have been invested in the city’s restoration over the past 10 years for guests to enjoy the renaissance of its historical heart.
To start, the fantastic Pre-Hispanic World is presented in an innovative way at Quito’s newly-opened Museum of Pre-Columbian Art, at the beautifully restored Casa del Alabado, dating back to 1671, as per the inscription on the stone of its façade. Archaeology takes on a whole new meaning in this space, dedicated not to the traditional chronological review of the different groups of peoples who inhabited what is now Ecuador, but rather to the aesthetic richness of pre-Columbian art, the essence of their culture, their cosmovision and their spirituality. Visitors are introduced to the three ancestral worlds in which the structure of time was divided: the infra-world beneath the earth or Pachamama where the energy lives, the earthly world where plants, animals and persons live, and the celestial, sacred, supra-world.
An uplifting snack is offered at the nearby Tianguez café and shop on Plaza de San Francisco, before proceeding to one of the jewels of the American baroque – the Jesuit church of La Compañía- a magnificent example of the extraordinary artistic ability of Ecuadorian artisans, which can be seen in the intricately carved altars completely covered with gold leaf, paintings and sculptures of the famous Quito School of Art. This is one of South America’s richest and most magnificent temples.
Lunch is included at one of the outstanding restaurants in Quito.
A short drive to Quito’s more modern neighbourhoods takes us up a hill to the Chapel of Man, the brainchild of the Ecuadorian painter Oswaldo Guayasamín (1919-1999), considered one of the most renown artists in Latin America, part of whose work is on display. The lower floor of the Chapel of Man is a homage to humanity with the forceful expressionist art of Guayasamín showing the pain, the tears, the wrath, the tenderness, the protest, the dreams, the violence, the heroism, the sacrifices of the odyssey of Latin American Man.
This is a walking tour at an altitude of 2800 meters (9200 feet) and involves climbing stairs. Dress in layers (T-shirt, blouse, sweater, coat). Women should not wear shorts nor miniskirts as visits to churches are included. Take a sweater even if the day is warm and sunny. Rain protection advised between January and April. Sun protection (SPF 40). Good walking shoes.
Quito – A Journey through Art and History from Metropolitan Touring
- Journey to the Source of Chocolate in the Amazon
- Live Quito Like a Local
- Panoramic Quito by night and dinner 3 hours, nightly
- Quito & the Middle of the World plus lunch, 6 hours, daily
- Quito and the Middle of the World (4½ hours, daily)
- Quito Cultural Heritage
- Quito, a journey through art and history
- Scenic Quito Tour & Archaeology Museum, 4 hours, daily, except Monday
- Scenic Tour of Quito, 3 hours, daily
- The Middle of the World (3 hours, daily)
- Tulipe: Ancient Sun Culture, full day with lunch, Wednesday to Sunday