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Home / Things to do in Quito / Church of the Society of Jesus

Church of the Society of Jesus (La Compañía Church)

La Compañía Church, known as the  “Church of the Society of Jesus”,  is one of Latin America’s most representative icons of the Baroque style and one of the region’s most beautiful and perfect churches. It was designed by the Jesuits and built over 160 years, from 1605 to 1765. The temple was ornamented by countless artists from the Quito School, who carved and gilded every centimeter of the temple with delicate sheets of 23-karat gold.

Church of the Society of Jesus
Photo by Ministerio de Turismo del Ecuador.

The basics

La Compañía Church in Quito has the most famous façade of all the churches in the Ecuadorian capital, an outstanding work of baroque style, built entirely in gray stone of volcanic origin, which has Solomonic columns and a profusion of ornaments. The rich internal ornamentation of the church, completely covered with gold sheets, is one of the city’s most significant tourist attractions and an invaluable artistic and economic heritage for the country. La Compañía Church is the best example of the Quito baroque style. However, due to its lengthy construction period, it also contains more than the baroque; other styles include Mudejar or Moorish, neoclassical, and churrigueresque.

Things to know before visiting the La Compañía Church

  • You will find the ticket office at the main door, where you can purchase tickets to see the church. You can opt for a guided tour to learn more about the history and architectural details of the Temple, or you can also explore it on your own to enjoy each of its corners. The guided tour lasts approximately one hour.
  • If you make an additional payment, you can visit the church’s domes and discover corners you never imagined about that area of ​​the church.
  • Taking photos or videos is not allowed in the church. 
  • You can attend masses and religious services offered at the church.
  • Occasionally, the church organizes sacred music concerts and other cultural events.
  • Other attractions near the Church of the Society of Jesus include the Currency Museum of the Central Bank of Ecuador, the Alberto Mena Caamaño Museum (Wax Museum), the City Museum, and the Museum of Carmen Alto.

How to get to the La Compañía Church in Quito?

The Church of the Society of Jesus is located on the corner of García Moreno and Sucre streets in the historic center of Quito. You can reach this destination in your vehicle, private taxi, Quito Tour Bus, Quito Metro, or a day tour.  

In own vehicle 

You can find public parking in the historic center area if you drive. However, the streets are narrow, and traffic can be heavy. 

By private taxi

Another way to get to the church is a private taxi service, the safest way to get around Quito. If you want comfortable and safe VIP transportation to the Church of the Society of Jesus, contact us by WhatsApp.

In Quito Tour Bus

If you go to the Church of the Society of Jesus on the Quito Tour Bus, you must get off at the San Francisco stop and walk towards García Moreno and Sucre streets, which are very close. The Quito Tour Bus 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 many times as you want for the duration of your ticket.

By Quito Metro

To reach this destination on the Quito Metro, you must get off at the “San Francisco” station, the metro station closest to the Compañía de Jesús church. The walk from the “San Francisco” stop to the Church of the Society of Jesus takes approximately five minutes.

One day tour

Another option to get to this site is to do it through a tour of a day, which is, without a doubt, one of the best visiting options since you will be able to tour the church at your own pace while a designated driver will take care of all the logistical details. If you are looking for a day tour, Contact us by WhatsApp for more information.

When to visit the La Compañía Church?

The Church of the Society of Jesus in Quito is a tourist destination that can be visited throughout the year. It is less crowded during the week and mainly attracts attention at night as it lights up. A good time to visit this religious building is at the end of November and the beginning of December, a period in which the founding of the capital of Ecuador is celebrated since countless events are held in the historic center. 

Frequently asked questions

According to Infinito Digital, Carrera de Comunicación de la Universidad Politécnica Salesiana de Quito (2024), “the Italian Jesuit brothers who were the architects participated in its construction, [while] the labor force was indigenous and [of] Afro-descendants.”

Thin sheets of 23-karat gold almost wholly cover the interior of the Church of the Society of Jesus. According to Infinito Digital, Carrera de Comunicación de la Universidad Politécnica Salesiana de Quito (2024), it is estimated that "in total there are 50 to 54 kilos in the entire Church, the amount is not too large, but we must take into account that gold leaf is thinner than a sheet of paper and can only be measured in microns.”

The Church of the Society of Jesus is a temple built by the Jesus company, a religious order of regular clerics of the Catholic Church founded in 1534 by the Spanish Ignatius of Loyola, of which he was the first general. Members of this religious order are commonly known as Jesuits. 

 

Ignatius of Loyola was a soldier who considered the Jesuits a company of service to God. The military structure in which Ignatius had been trained was replicated in the order, polite but dedicated to the propagation of the Catholic faith. In this religious order, the usual vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience are professed, in addition to a special vow of obedience to the Pope.

The church of the Company of Jesus was built over 160 years, from 1605 to 1765.

The Compañía Church is the most essential structure in colonial Quito due to its representative baroque style. The church is considered a masterpiece of Hispanic Baroque in America and one of Latin America's most beautiful and perfect churches. The façade of its main temple, which is carved entirely from volcanic stone, is considered one of the most essential expressions of baroque architecture on the American continent and in the world. Furthermore, inside, artists from the Quito School carved and gilded every centimeter of the temple with delicate sheets of 23-karat gold.

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