La Compañía de Jesús Church – most ornate church in Latin America

The Jesuit Church (the Iglesia de La Compañía de Jesus, or simply La Compañía ) is a blend of Baroque and Quiteño art, and is considered by many to be one of the most ornate churches in Latin America. For this very reason, it has been named part of the Cultural Heritage of Humanity

The church is one of the great baroque masterpieces in South America, and took 160 years to complete (1605-1765). This church was apparently inspired by the Church of the Gesu in Rome, Italy. The columns are a copy of those made by Bernini in the Vatican.

The intricate carvings of the facade won’t fail to impress you. The Solomonic columns are symbolic of the Catholic doctrine that life’s journey starts at the bottom (on earth), but by following the holy path it ends at the top (in heaven).

Moving to the interior, you will be surprised by the elaborate and intricate decorations. When you enter La Compañía, look for the symbols of the sun in both the main door to the church and the ceiling. The sun was a very important Inca symbol, and the Spanish thought that if they decorated the entryway with indigenous symbols, it might encourage local people to join the church.

The walls and ceilings of La Compañía are typical of Moorish design — you will only see geometric shapes but no human forms.

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