5 interesting facts about “El Panecillo”

5 interesting facts about “El Panecillo”

The limit of the Historic Center with the south of Quito is defined by the “Loma del Panecillo” (from Spanish panecillo means small piece of bread) which is an iconic site of the city. This place was considered by many as a temple of sun worship during the aboriginal era, although there are no vestiges to confirm this data.

El Panecillo is a viewpoint from which you can appreciate the Andean beauty of the city of Quito. This is an unforgettable destination during your visit to the city, this is why Quito Tour Bus offers you a safe and easy way to visit the hill of “El Panecillo” through its Quito City Tour, which stops approximately 20 minutes in this place and has an official and safe stop at the entrance of the PIM’s restaurant. Or if you prefer, you can descend at this stop and return to the bus within an hour.

Now we introduce you to 5 interesting facts about this place with the intention that if you have not done it yet you visit “El Panecillo”.

1. One of the most privileged views of Quito

Since El Panecillo is located at 3000 metres above sea level you can enjoy one of the most extraordinary views of the city of Quito. From this point of the city and its viewpoints, you can make fantastic photographs. In addition, since you will have a 360 degree perspective, you will see both the center and the south of the city, and even the buildings of the north. Therefore, you will be able to easily notice the contrasts between the ancient and modern city.

Photo by: Cayambe – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

2. Who designed and built the monument located in El Panecillo?

Agustín de la Herrán Matorras, an Spanish artist, made the monument to the Virgin Mary that is located at the top of the hill. The monument is made up of more than seven thousand pieces and is considered as the largest representation of aluminum in Ecuador. The work was built in Valencia, Spain and what many do not know is that it was later moved by ship to Ecuador.

The Spanish artist was inspired by the image of the winged Virgin which is located in San Francisco Church. This virgin was created by Bernardo de Legarda who was an sculptor of the colonial era. The monument of the Virgin of El Panecillo was inaugurated on March 28, 1975.

Inside the Virgin there is a small museum that exhibits images and the history of the construction of the monument. It is open for local and foreign tourists. Moreover, on top of the monument there is a viewpoint to see the city and the perspective is 360 degrees.


Photo by: Cayambe – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

3. Origin of the name “El Panecillo”

El Panecillo received this name from the Spanish conquistadors since it seemed to them that this hill, which stood in the heart of Quito, had the shape of a bread. It is said that his authentic name in Quichua is “Shungoloma” which means “Hill of the Heart”.

4. What happened in this place during the colonization?

During the Spanish conquest, the hill of El Panecillo was considered as a potential fortress of defense and vigilance of the Spaniards. This place located at the top of the hill was the site of various combats between the fronts of the Quito revolution and the Spaniards.

Quito’s patriots made a barricade in the hill of “El Panecillo” to avoid the imposition of the Real Audiencia de Quito by the Spaniards. In this place you can also find the well known “pot of El Panecillo“, a brick dome located on the hillside that provided water to the fortress built in this place.

After independence, this fort was destroyed and only the peak of the hill known as the “pot” that can be visited until today remained.

5. Legends about “El Panecillo”

There are some legends about El Panecillo, one of them is the legend about the Yavirak which says that El Panecillo represents the Temple of the Sun called “Yavirak”. The legend tells that Atahualpa ordered to make a golden temple on this elevation and it was never founded by the Spaniards. In addition, there is the legend of the pot of El Panecillo, which is about a woman who took her little cow to graze on the hill. One day she left her cow grazing and when she came back she could not find it anymore. Desperate, she went down to the bottom of the pot and her surprise was enormous when she arrived at the entrance of a huge palace, where she found a princess who helped her. We invite you to find out more about these and other legends of El Panecillo!



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