The Museum of the City of Quito (Museo de la Ciudad) opened in July, 1998, in the former Hospital of Mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ in the Old City. The historic building was used as a hospital from 1565 to 1974. In the 16th century the hospital provided lodging for the sick awaiting death and also for travelers. After the Bethlemite Brothers acquired the hospital around 1700, they added a doctor, chaplain, church, drugstore, vegetable garden and two fountains with fresh water. The brothers also built the richly decorated chapel, which has nine splendidly carved altars representative of the Quito School of Art. The first Ecuadorian doctor, Eugenio de Santa Cruz y Espejo, was born in the hospital in 1747 and later practiced there. A Faculty of Medicine and a lecture theater were added in 1826. French scientists came to teach at the hospital in 1872.
The City’s museum shows Quito’s history in chronological order from 10,000 BC to today. The city is presented as a center of exchange and of multicultural encounters, as a political and administrative center, and as the departure point for expeditions that discovered and explored the
Amazon. Many exhibits, which include dioramas and lifesize replicas, focus on the changes
in daily life through the centuries. The first rooms show the area’s prehistoric inhabitants and Indian communities that preceded the arrival of the Incas in 1487. The other exhibitions are organized by century. The original hospital is recreated with a ward containing beds, where the sick awaited death on boards covered with hay
The 16th-century Room includes a map of Quito made of inlaid wood, a lifesize Indian hut, a drawing of Plaza San Francisco as the city market, helmets and armor of Spanish conquistadors, and the orders of priests that came to Quito. The prosperous 17th century is depicted by the manufactoring and trade in textiles, the studio of Miguel de Santiago of the Quito School of Art, and houses with bakery and candle shops.Rooms of the 18th century feature French and German scientists who studied the exact location of the Equator in the Andes and the area’s flora and fauna, period dresses, the rigid class system, a typical kitchen and a room where women sat in Arab fashion on rugs and pillows to chat, sew, embroider or smoke. The 19th-century Room shows the influence of the French, the struggle for independence from Spain and scenes of everyday life.

The house/museum of María Augusta Urrutia is located in the colonial section of Quito, and was built at the beginning of the 20th century, and is an excellent example of the arquitecture of this period, a typical style with inside patios, corridors and many rooms.
Mrs. Urrutia, came from a very wealthy family and was born in Quito in 1901. She spent her childhood and adolescent years in Europe, where she developed a taste for French decoration and the art of the great masters. The house is furnished with a collection of Ecuadorian art from the Colonial times to the 20th century: apart of the paintings and other works of art, you can see, together the local large bronze pots beside fine French porcelain and silver dinnerware.
Mrs. Urrutia’s husband, Alfredo Escudero, died a few years after the marriage. Mrs. Urrutia dressed in black for the rest of her life, until her death in 1987. She kept the house exactly as it had been at the time of her husband’s death, and as she was very religious, puts all her efforts and wealth to help the poor, specially the children, and to patronize very good Ecuadorian painters, like Mideros, whose mystic and esoteric type paintings, of great format and much use of bright blue, adorn the house. The House of Urrutia is an encounter with the time, the spirit and the daily life of Quito at the beginning of the 20th Century.


This museum exhibits an excellent sample of pre-Columbian, colonial and contemporary art from the private collections of the famous Ecuadorian artist Oswaldo Guayasamín (1919-1999). Shortly before his death, Oswaldo Guayasamín donated these collections and his works to the city of Quito.


Next to the house-museum, “La Capilla del Hombre” (Man’s Chapel).Guayasamín dreamed with this chapel to pay tribute to the American pre-Columbian man, who has quietly kept 500 years of resistance and still struggles to recover his values. The artist started the construction of this Chapel on 1995, but unfortunately he died before his masterpiece was concluded. With the effort of his heirs, through the Guayasamín Foundation, the artist’s dream is coming alive. The Chapel itself occupies about 4.000 meters of construction. It is a rectangular construction of two floors, with a strong similarity to Incan temples. On the top it has a dome covered by copper plate, which on its inside is covered by an unconcluded mural of the artist, which will be left intact. Murals that were supposed to narrate the history of the American Man were not concluded, however, the Chapel will hold some of Guayasamín’s work as well as that of other well-known Latin-American artists, from Pre-Columbian to contemporary. The altar of the Chapel holds an eternal flame in defense of peace and human rights.


  • Private transport
  • Spanish / English tourism guide
  • Entrance The Company and San Francisco
  • Entrance Museum (Guayasamín, or Urrutia or Capilla del Hombre)


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