Church and Convent of San Francisco, Quito, Ecuador
“With everything I've invested in your church, and in the towers that stand out in the city, you should see them from here.” They say that King Carlos V complained about the costs of the Church of San Francisco in Quito. However, the fruit of the money invested in the several decades that led to its construction - with an important indigenous workforce - since 1534 is really colossal.
The whole Church, Convent and Museum completely occupy one side of the now cobbled Plaza de San Francisco. The construction was done in this place because of its importance to the indigenous people, because here prehispanic cultures had buildings of his military court. And one of the ways they have a religion to convert the faithful from another is to offer them places for the new rites where they used to go to the old.
The fact that the works will expand over time means that you can see several architectural styles in the set and several phases of construction. In addition, seismic activity caused damage to the structure at various times in history that forced reconstructions, sometimes replacing the destroyed with different styles.
Courtyard of the Cloister, Convent of San Francisco, Quito, Ecuador
Of the three parts of the set, the Convent is still today home for 35 Franciscan friars So not all of its rooms can be visited, beyond its landscaped inner courtyard.
On one of its sides since 1995 the Museum of the Convent (“Fray Pedro Gocial Museum”), whose entrance (in addition to a poster that prohibits taking photographs from that point) is a model of the façade of the complex. If one does not know the legend, one will be surprised to observe that in front of the main door there are several busy devils and an indigenous.
The reason they are there is a story, obviously not proven, according to which Cantuña, the native who had been entrusted and paid a part of the work, was in a hurry because he could not finish it on time. One night the Devil appeared and agreed with Cantuña that an army of devils would end it in a single day in exchange for the soul of the indigenous. He accepted but, in order not to deliver it, he hid a stone with which at the end of the term the construction had not been technically completed, thus invalidating the agreement.
Model of the Church and Convent of San Francisco, Quito, Ecuador