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Home / Things to do in Quito / Basilica of the National Vow

Basilica of the National Vow

The Basilica of the National Vow is the most essential work of Ecuadorian neo-Gothic architecture and one of the most representative of the American continent. Due to its structure and style, it is compared to St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York and Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. This work began to be built in the 19th century. It took more than a hundred years before it could finally be “completed” because it is considered unfinished, and, according to famous legends, it is believed that when it is completed, a cataclysm will occur, the world will end, or Ecuador would disappear as a free and sovereign State.
This religious building’s unprecedented contribution to the neo-Gothic style is demonstrated mainly in its gargoyles. The animals that decorate this temple are not only mythological, like those of European temples, but endemic and exotic, representing Ecuadorian fauna.

Basilica of the National Vow
Photo by Herbert Bieser in Pixabay.

The basics

The Basilica of the National Vow represents the consecration of the Republic to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. It features pointed arches, colorful stained glass windows, and tall bell towers rising into the sky. One of the most distinctive aspects of this basilica is the inclusion of figures of Ecuadorian fauna instead of the traditional gargoyles typical of Gothic temples. Thus, instead of demons and mythological creatures, visitors can find, on the facades and towers, animals, such as alligators, turtles, blue-footed boobies, monkeys, and armadillos, among others, which symbolizes a unique fusion between traditional European and the natural wealth of Ecuador.

Things to know before visiting the Basilica of the National Vow

  • Guided tourist tours take you to the clock towers, the condor tower, the bell towers, balconies, and crypts.
  • Quito Tour Bus offers you the Basilica of the National Vow Tour, which takes you on a night tour of this tourist destination in the city. This tour is part of the Quito Secret Tours.
  • If you want to see the church towers, you must climb spiral stairs, so you need to be in acceptable physical condition and not have acrophobia or fear of heights.
  • In the basilica, you can find viewpoints, a craft store, and a cafeteria on the top floor.
  • Photographs are allowed inside the church.
  • Only the ground floor is adapted for plow chairs. You can walk, although there is an elevator that will take you to the main viewpoint.

How to get to the Basilica of the National Vow?

The Basilica of the National Vow is located in a privileged transition site between the north and the historic center of Quito, specifically, in the sector known as Santa Prisca, on the streets of Carchi and Venezuela, next to the convent of the Oblate Fathers. 

The Basilica of the National Vow is located about seven blocks north of the Plaza de la Independencia. You can reach it by car, private taxi, Quito Tour Bus, Quito Metro, or on a day tour.

In own vehicle 

If you drive, you can find public parking in the area of ​​the Basilica of the National Vow. However, the streets are narrow, and traffic can be heavy. 

By private taxi

Another way to get to the Basilica of the National Vow is to use a private taxi service, which is the safest way to get around the city. If you are looking for comfortable and safe VIP transportation to take you to this tourist destination, contact us by WhatsApp.

In Quito Tour Bus

You can get to know the Basilica of the National Vow on the only double-decker bus in the city, the Quito Tour Bus. Quito Tour Bus puts at your disposal the Quito City Tour, the best option to get to know the Basilica of the National Vow since you can visit the north and center of the city, make the stops you want, and enjoy the best view of the Basilica from the second floor of the bus.

If you go towards the Basilica of the National Vow, you must get off at the stop with the same name (Basilica Church). The Hop-On Hop-Off system allows you to visit the place and then return to the bus to continue the tour. You can get on and off the bus as often as possible during your ticket valid time.

By Quito Metro

If you prefer to use the subway, the La Alameda station of the Quito Metro is located a few blocks from this tourist spot in Quito.

One day tour

Another option to get to this site is to do it on a day tour. This is undoubtedly another good way to get to know this spot since you can tour the Basilica of the National Vow at your own pace while a designated driver will take care of all the logistical details. If you’d like a day tour, you can contact us by WhatsApp for more information.

When should you visit the Basilica of the National Vow?

The Basilica of the National Vow is a tourist destination that can be visited throughout the year, but it is much less crowded during the week. It is recommended that you get to know this religious building through guided tours, which allow you to see the clock towers, the condor tower, the bell towers, the balconies, and the crypts.

Frequently asked questions

According to Museos de Quito (s/f), on July 3, 1885, García Moreno, [Former President of the Republic of Ecuador], entrusted the entire country to the order of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, hence the name of the National Vow.

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