The El Escorial of the New World, an invaluable architectural complex.
The church that stands in the middle of the San Francisco square is the largest catholic church in any historic centre on the continent. This is why it is known as the El Escorial of the New World, in reference to the enormous royal complex in Madrid, Spain, with the church, adjoining atrium and the square forming one of the most important historical complexes in the city. The square was raised on the site of a former Inca market back in the 15th and 16th century, becoming the first and main market in the city: over time, it became a common site for protests and social activities, and it is now one of the main trading centres in Quito. Around the square, in addition to the church after which it is named, you'll see and be able to visit a number of buildings that reflect the great legacy of both Spain and Quito, such as the Casa de los Lazos, the Gangotena Palace or the Pichincha Bank.