Shortly after the founding of the Spanish colonial city of Quito in present-day Ecuador, Franciscan missionaries began the construction of the Church and Convent of San Francisco. What began as a small monastery in 1534, the structure became one of the largest and most important colonial Latin American architectural and religious sites, finally completed almost 150 years later in 1680.
The Monastery of San Francisco is a stunning complex of over 40,000 square-meters with a grand Baroque-style church, numerous cloisters, and chapels. The historic landmark - currently undergoing heavy restoration work with the help of UNESCO - holds over 3,500 precious works of sacred art, which include some of the finest examples of colonial art from the Quito School, including the revered Virgin of Quito.
Visitors to the opulent Monastery are transported in time, obtaining a greater understanding of the power, wealth and control colonial Spaniards had on the region.
Located in Quito's main square, the monastery is open to the public on a daily basis.